Bern (Switzerland) (AFP) – Former European football chief Michel Platini arrived for a meeting with the Swiss public prosecutor on Monday as part of proceedings investigating a two million Swiss franc ($2.2 million) payment he received in 2011.
Platini was summoned to the Swiss capital Bern by prosecutor Thomas Hildbrand. Sepp Blatter, the former president of the sport’s world governing body FIFA, is due to meet the prosecutor on Tuesday as part of the same probe.
Platini, the former head of European football’s governing body UEFA, arrived at the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) complex in a taxi accompanied by his lawyer Dominic Nellen.
Wearing a suit and blue shirt without a tie and carrying a blue folder, he said “hello” towards waiting journalists and smiled briefly as he went to the registration office.
He briefly came out again to enter the main premises through a revolving metal gate.
Platini and Blatter each face interrogation from the public prosecutor as part of the proceedings, which were opened in 2015.
In June, Hildbrand formally added Platini to an investigation into the payment he received from FIFA in 2011 for an advisory job completed in 2002, on suspicion of “complicity in unfair management, embezzlement and forgery in securities”.
The 65-year-old former French football great now has the status of “accused” alongside Blatter.
Platini said at the time that the OAG had “confirmed in writing in May 2018” that his case was closed.
– ‘Back pay’ –
Two other former FIFA executives, Frenchman Jerome Valcke, the former secretary-general, and German Markus Kattner, the former financial director, are being investigated on “suspicion of unfair management”, the OAG said.
Kattner will be questioned on September 4.
Platini said he was being persecuted by FIFA.
“After five years, it is quite possible that FIFA will continue to harass me through complaints with the sole aim of keeping me out of football and smearing my reputation,” he said in June.
Blatter, who is 84, told AFP the payment was above board.
“It was a back pay for work done by Michel Platini. The sum was validated by the finance commission. It cannot be a criminal offence,” Blatter said, adding that he was “serene” ahead of the new hearing.
FIFA deemed the sum a “disloyal payment” and suspended Blatter and Platini from all football-related activities, which prevented the former UEFA chief from running for the FIFA presidency in 2016.
Platini appealed against his suspension at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which reduced it to four years, then the Swiss Federal Court and finally at the European Court of Human Rights.
Hildbrand questioned Blatter in late July and early August in connection with a separate investigation into television rights contracts issued to the Caribbean Football Union.
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