Michel Platini now a formal suspect in Swiss case

French soccer great Michel Platini has been formally placed under investigation in Switzerland in relation to a $2 million payment he got from FIFA in 2011

GENEVA —
French soccer great Michel Platini has been formally placed under investigation in Switzerland in relation to a $2 million payment he got from FIFA in 2011.

Swiss federal prosecutors this month extended their open criminal proceedings into then-FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s role in the payment to include Platini, according to a document seen Friday by The Associated Press.

Platini, who was the president of European soccer body UEFA at the time, is suspected of being an accomplice to criminal mismanagement, misappropriation and forgery, the document states.

The former France national team captain submitted invoices to FIFA in January 2011 seeking payment for an uncontracted salary when working as a presidential adviser in Blatter’s first term, from 1998-2002.

He was paid the next month.

Five different courts and tribunals — including the FIFA ethics committee, the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the European Court of Human Rights — have ruled against Platini since Swiss prosecutors revealed the allegation in September 2015.

Platini and Blatter, who were both banned by FIFA, deny wrongdoing and have not been charged by Swiss prosecutors.

The Swiss attorney general’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Platini’s four-year ban expired in October and he has been planning to return to the sport.

The long-standing allegation was revived two years after Platini said Swiss prosecutors told him he had been cleared of wrongdoing.

However, a new prosecutor was appointed to lead some investigations last year in the wider Swiss probe of corruption allegations in international soccer that began in 2014.

Prosecutor Thomas Hildbrand’s name appears on official documents relating to Platini’s case that have been seen by the AP.

Hildbrand also extended criminal proceedings against Blatter this month for suspected criminal mismanagement to include a $1 million loan FIFA made to the Trinidad and Tobago soccer federation in 2010.

That money went into the control of then-FIFA vice president Jack Warner, who was campaigning in the Caribbean nation’s general election at the time. Warner has since been banned by FIFA and is fighting extradition to the United States, where he was indicted on financial corruption charges five years ago.

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