At 87, the Swiss Sepp Blatter could emerge unscathed from the myriad of criminal investigations opened since 2015 in his native country. Already cleared in July 2022 by the Swiss Federal Criminal Court (TPF) of suspicions of “fraud, forgery in securities, unfair management and breach of trust” in the context of the case of the payment of two million Swiss francs made in 2011 to Michel Platini, the former Swiss president of the International Football Federation (FIFA) is no longer being prosecuted by the Zurich prosecutor’s office. Monday, March 27, the Public Prosecutor III of the Canton of Zurich closed another criminal procedure opened for “unfair management” in 2022 against Mr. Blatter and the former French Secretary General of FIFA, Jérôme Valcke. “The investigation did not confirm the suspicion of dereliction of duty in the sense of dishonest business management”, writes the Zurich public prosecutor’s office in a press release.
These criminal proceedings followed the complaint, filed against Mr. Blatter and his former leaders, in December 2020, by FIFA chaired by Gianni Infantino, “in connection with the FIFA museum project, which generated a bill of 500 million Swiss francs [plus de 460 millions d’euros] ».
In its complaint, FIFA noted that its former management had “spent 140 million on the renovation and [à] modernizing a building that the body does not own, while entering into a long-term rental agreement above market value, which will cost FIFA a total of 360 million. »
“It was not possible to establish the existence of a criminally relevant fault in the sense of a breach of duty, which is why the prosecution terminated the criminal proceedings on March 27, 2023”writes the Zurich prosecutor’s office.
” A victory “
“This case lasted a long time. What could I have done wrong by having a FIFA museum built in Zurich? It’s a victory in this feud with the ubiquitous FIFA President. I am happy “reacts to the Monde Mr. Blatter, mentioning his successor and rival Gianni Infantino.
“I have never received a request or summons for a hearing from the Zurich prosecutor in this procedure in which I have been accused in an aberrant way”, says Mr. Valcke.
Suspended by FIFA in 2015, prosecuted in Switzerland for “multiple suspicions of unfair management” since 2016 in another case, Mr. Valcke was acquitted, in October 2020 and June 2022, of the counts of “aggravated unfair management” by the Court Swiss federal penal on the part of the villa in Sardinia which he benefited from thanks to the boss of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and the company BeIN Media, Nasser Al-Khelaïfi.
In 2020, FIFA withdrew its corruption complaint against the two men. Mr. Valcke was also sentenced on appeal to an eleven-month suspended prison sentence for “repeated passive corruption” and “repeated false titles” in a separate case.
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For his part, Mr. Blatter benefited, in 2020, 2021 and 2022, from the closing of three investigations by the Public Prosecutor of the Swiss Confederation (MPC) against him, in particular for “suspicions of unfair management”.
Insofar as the MPC and FIFA have appealed for his release and that of Michel Platini, the octogenarian will however have to appear again in the coming months, like the former French president of the Union. European football associations (UEFA), in the case of the payment of two million Swiss francs made to the former number 10 of the Blues.
The date of this new trial of the two former main leaders of world football is not known: a challenge procedure is underway and is aimed at the TPF Court of Appeal, chaired by magistrate Olivier Thormann. Which had opened, in September 2015, the criminal proceedings of the MPC on the payment made to Mr. Platini.