the absence of “evidence” and “motive” at the heart of the pleading of the lawyer for the ex-president of FIFA

Lorenz Erni and Sepp Blatter, at the Federal Criminal Court, in Bellinzona (Switzerland), June 8, 2022.

Since the start of the trial of Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter, Lorenz Erni has distinguished himself by a cardinal posture, combining discretion and long silences. Constantly above the fray, the lawyer for the former president of the International Federation of Football Association (FIFA) really entered the scene, Friday, June 17, during his argument, on the eighth day of the hearing held at the Federal Criminal Court (TPF) in Bellinzona.

Famous criminal lawyer and former adviser to director Roman Polanski, Me Erni asked the TPF “ the acquittal by Sepp Blatter, 86, in the case of the alleged unfair payment of 2 million Swiss francs (1.9 million euros) made in February 2011 to Mr. Platini by his client.

At the end of his presentation of more than two hours, the lawyer also claimed the payment of compensation to the former boss of world football (1998-2015) under the “ moral wrong ” and of “damage to reputation” inflicted on his “mandator” by the criminal proceedings opened since 2015 by the Public Ministry of the Confederation (MPC).

“I seriously wondered if I could really spend more than five minutes on my argumenthe quipped in the introduction when his client and Michel Platini were sent back to the TPF for “suspicions of fraud, unfair management, breach of trust and forgery in the titles”. The accusation against Mr Blatter by the MPC is so absurd (…). It is so clear, that it can be demonstrated in a few minutes that only acquittal is possible. »

Lack of “motive”

First, M.e Erni observed that prosecutor Thomas Hildbrand did not give, on Wednesday, ” mobile in his indictment, which would explain why Sepp Blatter made this payment to Mr Platini, when he was president of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA):

“The accusation is limited to the assertion that the sole effort of MM. Blatter and Platini aimed to illicitly transfer 2 million into the latter’s estate. Why does the prosecution say nothing at all about the motive? It is because there cannot be any other than that which MM. Platini and Blatter quoted concordantly: it was only an open debt based on a verbal agreement under which the balance of Mr. Platini’s annual fee of one million Swiss francs was to be paid later. »

Despite the sometimes divergent versions of the defendants during their first interrogation by the MPC in September 2015, Me Erni supported the thesis of MM. Platini and Blatter: that of an oral agreement between the two men in 1998, “after Sepp Blatter was elected to FIFA in June 1998”which would have set the Frenchman’s remuneration at 1 million Swiss francs as technical adviser to the boss of FIFA.

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