Acquitted at first instance, on July 8, Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter will they be retried by the Court of Appeal of the Swiss Federal Criminal Court (TPF) in Bellinzona? The Public Ministry of the Swiss Confederation (MPC) has in any case confirmed to Le Monde having filed “an appeal announcement”, on July 15, with the TPF, following the release of the former president of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and the former boss of the International Football Federation (FIFA) in the case of the alleged unfair payment of 2 million Swiss francs (1.9 million euros) received from the part of Mr. Blatter, in February 2011, by the ex-player.
The MPC had ten days to file such an appeal. He thus outlines his intention. After the notification of the reasoned judgment, in several months, the prosecution will have twenty days to confirm this appeal in writing or to waive it. “The judgment, which will be reasoned in writing by the court, will serve as a basis for examination for the rest of the MPC procedure”, indicates the prosecution.
On July 8, the TPF had given the benefit of the doubt to the defendants, prosecuted for “suspicions of fraud, unfair management, breach of trust and forgery in titles”. Believing that the “facts of the prosecution cannot be proven with a probability close to certainty”, the court had based itself on “the version most favorable to the defendants” and considered “as probable” that the payment made to Mr. Platini “represents a balance for his consulting activity”, between 1998 and 2002, with Mr. Blatter.
This judgment constitutes a disavowal for the MPC, which had requested against the two defendants a “custodial sentence” of one year and eight months suspended.
A sensitive file for Gianni Infantino
Civil party in these proceedings, has FIFA also filed an appeal notice? Contacted on this point by Le Monde, FIFA’s lawyer, Catherine Hohl-Chirazi, indicates that “FIFA has requested notification of the written and reasoned judgment and will wait for it before making any further comments”.
The file is sensitive for its president, Gianni Infantino, ex-right arm of Mr. Platini at UEFA. In open war with MM. Platini and Blatter, the boss of world football, has himself been the subject of criminal proceedings in Switzerland since July 2020, due to his secret meetings (without minutes) with the former Swiss attorney general Michael Lauber , in 2016 and 2017.
Invited by the TPF to act “by civil means”, FIFA has already filed a civil complaint against MM. Platini and Blatter, in December 2019, with the cantonal heritage chamber of the Lausanne court in order to be reimbursed the sum paid to the Frenchman.
If the TPF confirms its appeal in several months, Mr. Platini’s lawyers will not fail to point out the problematic case of magistrate Olivier Thormann, current president of the TPF Court of Appeal. The latter is the prosecutor who opened, in 2015, the criminal proceedings concerning the payment made in 2011 to the ex-player. But he is one of the six defendants targeted by the criminal investigation into the secret meetings between MM. Infantino and Lauber.
In June, Mr. Platini’s lawyers filed a complaint for “false testimony” against Mr. Thormann after the latter was heard by the TPF as to the circumstances in which the MPC identified the payment made to the Frenchman.