BELLINZONA, Switzerland (Reuters) – Swiss judges are set to rule on Friday in the corruption trial of ex-FIFA president Sepp Blatter and France’s former soccer hero Michel Platini, as soon as amongst soccer’s strongest figures.
Prosecutors accuse Blatter, a Swiss who led world soccer physique FIFA for 17 years, and Platini, a former France nationwide group captain and supervisor, of unlawfully arranging for FIFA to pay the Frenchman two million Swiss francs ($2.06 million) in 2011.
Both deny the allegations.
Prosecutors have requested the court docket to impose suspended 20-month jail sentences on each males, and to compel them to repay Zurich-based FIFA 2.23 million Swiss francs.
The verdict is due round 0800 GMT.
The case meant Blatter ended his reign as FIFA president in shame and it wrecked Platini’s hopes of succeeding him after he was banned from soccer when the affair got here to gentle.
Blatter, 86, had stated the two-million franc cost adopted a “gents’s settlement” between the pair when he requested Platini to be his technical adviser in 1998.
Platini, 67, labored as a guide between 1998 and 2002 with an annual wage of 300,000 Swiss francs — essentially the most FIFA might afford as a result of of cash troubles the organisation had on the time, Blatter has instructed the court docket.
The relaxation of Platini’s a million per yr wage was to be settled at a later date, Blatter stated.
Motives for the cost are unclear, though the 2 males met in 2010 and mentioned the upcoming elections for the FIFA presidency in 2011.
When Blatter authorized the cost, he was campaigning for re-election in opposition to Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar. Platini, then president of European soccer affiliation UEFA, was seen as having sway with European members who might affect the vote.
Prosecutors have stated that the oral settlement between the 2 males for Platini to be paid two million francs later for his consultancy work by no means existed, and described it as an “invention”.
The cost emerged following an enormous investigation launched by the U.S. Department of Justice into bribery, fraud and money-laundering at FIFA in 2015, which triggered Blatter’s resignation.
Both officers had been banned in 2015 from soccer for eight years over the cost, though their bans had been later lowered. [L5N2XH0DW].
Platini, who additionally misplaced his job as UEFA president following the ban, stated the affair was a deliberate try to thwart his try to change into FIFA president in 2015.
Platini’s former basic secretary at UEFA, Gianni Infantino, entered the FIFA race and gained the election in 2016.
($1 = 0.9736 Swiss francs)
(Reporting by John Revill; modifying by Clare Fallon)