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Corruption probe Platini says Swiss have cleared him of criminal wrongdoing

Michel Platini outside a court

Michel Platini outside the Court of Arbitration for Sport in 2016

(Keystone)

Former head of European football Michel Platini says he has been cleared by Swiss authorities of any criminal wrongdoing over payments he received from FIFA, world football’s Zurich-based governing body, that resulted in a ban for ethics violations. He said he now plans to return to the game. 

“After [three] years of investigation, the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerlandexternal link has just restored the truth by officially confirming that no charge has been at any time or will be in the future held against me in connection with my activities for FIFA,” Platini, 62, said in a statement. 

The news was also reported by French newspaper Le Mondeexternal link in reference to a note from the Swiss attorney general dated May 24 for the attention of Platini’s lawyer. 

However, the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland on Saturday contradicted Platini. “No process has been stopped. That would be a false interpretation,” spokesman André Marty told the German Press Agency. 

The office also told the AFP news agency that the process targeting former FIFA boss Sepp Blatter, in which Platini was questioned as a witness, “is not definitively finished”. 

Ethical violation 

Platini said he now hoped FIFA would have “the courage and decency” to lift his ban.

However, on Saturday FIFA was standing firm, pointing out that Platini had been suspended for violating FIFA’s ethical code, not for breaking Swiss law. 

“It has always been very clear for FIFA, as for the CAS [Court of Arbitration for Sport], that Mr Platini has never been the target of a criminal investigation in Switzerland,” FIFA said in a statement to the AFP news agency.

In 2015, Platini, a former captain of France, was banned from all football-related activities over a CHF2 million ($2.02 million) payment, for work done a decade earlier, made to him by FIFA in 2011 with former FIFA boss Sepp Blatter’s approval. 

FIFA’s ethics committee said the payment, made at a time when Blatter was seeking re-election, lacked transparency and presented conflicts of interest. Both men denied wrongdoing. 

Platini was initially banned from all football-related activities for eight years. The Lausanne-based CAS reduced the suspension to four years. 

“I will come back. Where, when, how? It’s too early to tell. But I will come back to football,” Platini said.

SDA-ATS/ts

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