French soccer body's office searched in Blatter investigation

Wed Mar 9, 2016 6:42am EST
 
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By Joshua Franklin

ZURICH (Reuters) - Authorities searched the offices of France's soccer federation and seized documents to help a Swiss investigation into former FIFA President Sepp Blatter, Switzerland's prosecutor said on Wednesday.

The operation, carried out a day earlier, was linked to a 2 million Swiss franc ($2 million) payment to France's Michel Platini at the heart of proceedings against Blatter, Switzerland's Office of the Attorney General (OAG) said.

The 79-year-old former head of world soccer's scandal-plagued governing body said he was surprised by the search by members of the French financial prosecutor's office.

"The payment to Mr Platini was made by FIFA to a private account in Switzerland and not through the French Football Federation or UEFA," Blatter added in a statement issued by his adviser.

Swiss prosecutors, who requested the Paris search, said in September they had opened a criminal investigation into Blatter on suspicion of criminal mismanagement and misappropriation of funds, allegations he dismissed.

Blatter and UEFA President Michel Platini were both banned from soccer for six years over the 2011 FIFA payment to Platini, made with Blatter's approval for work done a decade earlier. Both have denied any wrongdoing.

"Documents were seized in connection with the suspected payment of 2 million Swiss francs that is inter alia the subject of the proceedings," the Swiss prosecutor said in a statement.

The French financial prosecutor's office confirmed that the search took place, saying documents useful to the Swiss investigation were taken.   Continued...

 
FIFA President Sepp Blatter reacts before the first game of the so-called "Sepp Blatter tournament" in Blatter's home-town Ulrichen, Switzerland, August 22, 2015. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse