Sepp Blatter’s lawyer seeks acquittal

Bellinzona (awp/ats) – Only an acquittal counts, said the lawyer for ex-FIFA president Sepp Blatter in his plea before the Federal Criminal Court. The payment of two million Swiss francs was based on an agreement.

There is no reason why FIFA would have paid these two million Swiss francs to the co-accused Michel Platini without reason, lawyer Lorenz Erni explained on Friday. Mr. Platini’s consulting activity was worth one million Swiss francs a year in view of his career.

Due to FIFA’s financial situation, a written contract was first concluded, providing for an annual compensation of 300,000 Swiss francs. Sepp Blatter would however have made an oral agreement with Michel Platini, according to which the remaining amount would be settled later.

Former FIFA chief financial officer Markus Kattner also testified that for him there are no reasons or clues to doubt the legality of the two million payment.

Fraud charges

The Public Ministry of the Confederation accuses the 86-year-old Valaisan and the Frenchman, 20 years his junior, of fraud. Sepp Blatter approved a payment of two million Swiss francs for the alleged consulting services of Michel Platini for the benefit of FIFA between July 1998 and June 2002. However, the MPC sees no legal basis for this payment.

Both defendants deny the charges in their entirety. The ex-UEFA president sees in this accusation a plot which would have served to prevent him from becoming FIFA president, paving the way for Gianni Infantino, his right arm at the time at UEFA.

The trial will last until June 22. FIFA is a civil party in the proceedings. She claims reimbursement of some 2.2 million Swiss francs. The opening of the judgment is set for July 8.

ats/vj

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