Justice: Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter acquitted
In his closing arguments, prosecutor Thomas Hildbrand had pointed out the contradiction with the 1999 contract, the contrast with the usual practices of the body and more generally those of the world of work, and he especially exhumed FIFA audit reports.
Even if the Zurich organization had paid Platini one million Swiss francs as early as 1999, it would still have had “more than 21 million francs of cash”, reserves increased to 327 million in 2002, the magistrate recalled.
But the court found that the scam was “not established with a likelihood bordering on certainty,” thus applying the general principle of criminal law that “doubt must benefit the accused.”
The defense had also pointed out in its pleadings the absence of a clear motive of Sepp Blatter, to whom this case did not bring a penny.
Cautiously, Thomas Hildbrand recalled the support given by Michel Platini and the UEFA Executive Committee to Blatter’s re-election to a fourth term at the end of May 2011.
“The question of whether this payment is related to the election must remain open, in the absence of convincing evidence,” the prosecutor acknowledged, nevertheless leaving the shadow of corruption hanging in the courtroom.
Despite the requisitions of the prosecutor’s office, which had requested in mid-June respectively a year and eight months of suspended prison for the two men, the Swiss justice has therefore not pronounced any conviction in this case.
According to the sports newspaper L’Equipe, after six years of investigation and two weeks of trial in Switzerland, Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter were acquitted this Friday, in the case that broke the ambitions of the Frenchman, approached in 2015 to take the lead of world football.