The corruption scandal rocking the word football governing body, FIFA, took another twist Friday as Swiss authorities announced criminal proceedings against the body’s outgoing president, Sepp Blatter.
Mr. Blatter was questioned Friday and his offices were searched as part a criminal probe into suspected misappropriation of funds, the office of Switzerland’s top prosecutor has said.
Mr. Blatter is being probed regardless of his decision to finally quit his role as the world’s football chief.
“On 25th September 2015, representatives of the OAG (Office of the Attorney General) interrogated the defendant Joseph Blatter,” Swiss authorities said in a statement, adding that its employees had also conducted “a house search at Fifa Headquarters with the support of the Federal Criminal Police”.
“The office of the Fifa President has been searched and data seized,” it said.
“Swiss criminal proceedings against the President of Fifa, Mr. Joseph Blatter, have been opened on 24th September 2015 on suspicion of criminal mismanagement…and – alternatively – misappropriation,” the statement read.
“There is a suspicion that…Joseph Blatter also violated his fiduciary duties” to Fifa in connection with a contract with the Caribbean Football Union, the statement further said.
Additionally, “Mr. Joseph Blatter is suspected of a disloyal payment of 2 million Swiss francs ($2.04 million, €1.8 million) to Michel Platini, President of Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), at the expense of FIFA,” it said in a statement, adding that the payment had been executed in February 2011, and had allegedly been made “for work performed between January 1999 and June 2002.
Mr. Blatter stepped down in June just one week after the indictments of nine FIFA officials in May.
He was not one of the nine arrested in a high-class hotel in Zurich, but has been accused of accepting bribes from countries in exchange for World Cup bids.
The 79-year-old has staunchly denied wrongdoing but has acknowledged that FIFA needs restructuring.
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