Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini acquitted of fraud in Swiss court

At the center of the lawsuit was a payment made by FIFA, world football’s governing body, to Platini in 2011. At the time, Platini was president of UEFA, the governing body of European football.

The Swiss Attorney General’s Office (OAG) accused both men of illegally arranging the payment of 2 million Swiss francs (current value of US$2.05 million).

A statement released by the court after the trial stated that “the result of the evidence confirms the defendant’s version, therefore the facts of the indictment cannot be considered created with a probability bordering on certainty, and the court adheres to the version of serious doubts of the prosecution remain.”

When Blatter entered the courtroom to hear the verdict, he told reporters, “I’m not innocent in my life, but in this case I’m innocent.”

During the trial in June, Blatter claimed that Platini’s payment was a salary payment owed to the Frenchman for some consulting work with FIFA between 1998 and 2002.

“This is the salary due. I don’t know why we are in a criminal trial under an administrative procedure,” Blatter said.

“Platini told me I was worth a million and I told him so you’ll be with me for a million – gentlemen’s agreement,” the 86-year-old continued.

Michel Platini taken into custody over allegations of corruption during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar

Meanwhile, Platini said he would retaliate against unspecified “perpetrators” who were involved in the case brought against him.

“I wanted to express my joy for all my loved ones that justice has finally been served after seven years of lies and manipulation,” the 67-year-old said in a statement sent to CNN by his lawyers.

“The truth came to light during this trial, and I deeply thank the judges of the tribunal for the independence of their decision.”

He continued, “My fight is the fight against injustice. I won the first game. In this case, there are perpetrators who did not appear at this court. Let them count on me, we will meet again, because I will not give up and I will go to the end in my pursuit of the truth.

The verdict is the culmination of an investigation launched in 2015.

Thomas Hildbrand, the lead federal prosecutor at the Swiss Attorney General’s Office who filed charges against the two men, said in a statement to CNN: “The Swiss Attorney General’s Office has taken note of the decision of the Criminal Chamber of the Federal Criminal Court.

“After the court publishes the written reasoning for its decision, the Swiss Attorney General’s Office will decide how to proceed.”

Following the pair’s acquittal, a FIFA spokesman stated: “FIFA takes note of the court’s verdict in the case opened by OAG and will await a full reasoned decision before commenting further.”