Platini now a formal suspect in Swiss investigation of Fifa payment
Michel Platini, the former president of Uefa, has been made a formal suspect in a Swiss probe into a payment he received from Fifa in 2011.
The French official, now 65, had already been placed under investigation in Switzerland over the SFr2 million ($2.11 million) transaction.
Federal prosecutors have this month widened the open criminal proceedings into ex-Fifa president Sepp Blatter’s role in the allegedly unauthorised payment to include Platini, it was confirmed on Friday.
Platini, who headed up Uefa from 2007 to 2015, is suspected of being an accomplice to criminal mismanagement, misappropriation and forgery, according to a document seen by AP.
In a statement to Reuters, the Swiss Office of the Attorney General said: “The criminal proceedings have been extended against former UEFA President Michel Platini on suspicion of participation in disloyal management and on suspicion of falsification of documents.”
It added that the presumption of innocence applied.
Platini served a four-year ban from soccer, reduced on appeal from eight, and was hit with a fine of SFr60,000, over the “disloyal payment” received from then Fifa leader Blatter, and is still trying to clear his name. Blatter’s six-year ban runs to 2021.
The episode forced Platini, a former French international star, to step down as president of Uefa, and abandon his campaign to succeed Blatter as head of Fifa after the latter was driven out of office.
Both men have always denied any wrongdoing over the SFr2 million payment, claiming it was for consultancy work Platini carried out for Fifa from 1998 to 2002.
Fifa has filed claims in Swiss courts seeking to recover the money, which it claims was paid inappropriately.
Platini has previously claimed to have been cleared in Switzerland but last year Thomas Hildbrand, a new prosecutor, was appointed to lead some investigations as part of a wider probe into corruption in international soccer, which dates back to 2014.
Hildbrand’s name is said to appear on official documents relating to Platini’s case.
In a statement on Saturday, the Frenchman said: “I have total confidence in Swiss justice, I am once again at their disposal and am absolutely serene.”
Hildbrand has also extended criminal proceedings against Blatter for suspected criminal mismanagement to include a $1 million loan Fifa made to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association in 2010.
That money was passed to infamous Fifa vice-president Jack Warner who has since been banned for life by Fifa for various breaches of its ethics code and is fighting extradition to USA where he faces charges as part of the wide-ranging Fifa-gate corruption scandal that broke in 2015.