Blatter and Platini insist nothing wrong with questioned payment

Mon Sep 28, 2015 3:04pm EDT
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By Simon Evans

ZURICH (Reuters) - FIFA president Sepp Blatter and the man who aims to replace him, UEFA chief Michel Platini, both insisted on Monday there was nothing untoward about a 2 million Swiss franc payment at the center of fresh corruption allegations.

Swiss prosecutors said on Friday they had opened a criminal investigation into Blatter, the long-time head of FIFA, world soccer's governing body, on suspicion of criminal mismanagement and misappropriation of funds.

Blatter denies any wrongdoing and on Monday told FIFA staff that he has no intention of quitting as a result of the investigation.

The prosecutors said Blatter was suspected of a "disloyal payment" of 2 million Swiss francs ($2.05 million) to Platini in 2011 at the expense of FIFA, allegedly made for work performed between January 1999 and June 2002. They did not say why the payment was "disloyal" or what became of the money.

Both leaders said on Monday the payment was legitimate compensation for work done but neither offered an explanation for why Platini was not paid until nine years after finishing his spell as a paid advisor to Blatter.

"I wish to clarify that for the period 1998 to 2002, I was employed by FIFA to work on a wide range of matters relating to football," wrote Platini in a letter to European national football associations.

"It was a full-time job and my functions were known by all. The remuneration was agreed at the time and after initial payments were made, the final outstanding amount of 2 million Swiss francs was paid in February of 2011.

"This income has all been fully declared by me to the authorities, in accordance with Swiss law," he added.   Continued...

UEFA President Michel Platini (L) congratulates FIFA President Sepp Blatter after he was re-elected at the 65th FIFA Congress in Zurich, Switzerland, May 29, 2015. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich