An important witness has offered information to help criminal proceedings against long-time president of the world football body FIFA, Sepp Blatter, according to the Swiss attorney-general’s office.
Spokesman André Marty said in an interview on Thursday with German television programme “Morgenmagazin” that it should be clear by the end of 2016 to mid-2017 whether there was evidence to bring a charge against Blatter, whose presidency has ended with the worst corruption scandal in FIFA’s history.
“In the name of the office of the attorney-general of Switzerland, I can confirm that a witness has given us interesting information that is relevant for the case and should be essential for the investigation,” Marty said in an emailed statement.
In the interview, Marty used the term “whistleblower” to describe the witness, suggesting he might be a FIFA insider. He declined to comment on that point in the emailed statement.
Swiss prosecutors last year opened a criminal investigation of individuals on suspicion of mismanagement and money laundering related to allocation of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar.
In September the Swiss attorney-general’s office also announced that it had opened a criminal investigation into FIFA president Sepp Blatter over a CHF2 million ($1.98 million) payment made by FIFA to European football boss Michel Platini.
The payment was made in 2011 for work completed in 2002 by Platini, who has been described as being between a “witness and an accused person” by Swiss attorney-general Michael Lauber.
Blatter and Platini, who were subsequently banned for eight years each by FIFA’s own ethics committee, have denied wrongdoing. A new president will be elected on February 26.
A criminal investigation is also under way in the United States, where 41 individuals – including a number of leading football federation presidents and FIFA officials – and sports entities have been indicted.
swissinfo.ch and agencies