Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter both acquitted, but not yet reassured
After more than six years of investigation and two weeks of trial for fraud in Switzerland, Michel Platini – former president of UEFA – and Sepp Blatter – former president of FIFA – were acquitted on Friday. The Federal Criminal Court of Bellinzona did not follow the requisitions of the prosecution, which had requested in mid-June respectively one year and eight months of suspended prison sentence.
When on July 29, 2015, Michel Platini, then president of the European body announced that he was a candidate for the election for the presidency of Fifa, big favorite, he did not imagine having to face justice some time later. . Indeed, just a few months after his candidacy which placed him as a favorite for the position of boss of world football, he was caught up in a big money deal for an advisory job without a written contract with the president of FIFA, Sepp Blatter. On September 25 of the same year, the Attorney General of Switzerland opened criminal proceedings for « unfair management » and « breach of trust » against Sepp Blatter, suspected of having made « an unfair payment » of 2 million Swiss francs (1 8 million euros) in favor of Platini, nine years after the end of his mission as an adviser to the President of FIFA in 2011.
The result was only going to be a succession of investigation, criminal proceedings, indictments, dismissals for the two men until this judgment. But after seven years of twists and turns, the French and the Swiss were finally acquitted. “A neutral court has finally found that no crime was committed in this case. My client is completely cleared and relieved as a result, commented Me Dominic Nellen, Michel Platini’s lawyer. For his part, the ex-captain of the Blues rejoiced in a short press release to have « won a first match », while once again alluding to a politico-judicial manipulation intended to remove him from power: “In this case, there are culprits who did not appear during this trial. Let them count on me, we will meet again. “Michel Platini suspects in particular a hidden role of Gianni Infantino, his former right-hand man at UEFA elected in 2016 at the head of Fifa, and targeted since 2020 by a separate procedure for three secret meetings with the former chief prosecutor Swiss.
Are we, however, at the end of the file which tarnished the image of the former No. 10 of the Blues? Nothing is less certain at this moment. If the court found the account of the two defendants plausible, and considered that the fraud was: « not established with a likelihood bordering on certainty » – therefore applying the principle according to which the doubt must benefit the defense -, the he possibility of an appeal trial has not yet been ruled out. The prosecution only indicated on Friday that it would decide on the continuation of the procedure “as soon as it has a written and reasoned judgment. »