Sepp Blatter faces criminal charges over Fifa deals

Fifa president Sepp Blatter is to face charges of criminal mismanagement and misappropriation by the Swiss attorney general.

The head of world football’s governing body has been under heavy scrutiny in 2015 following the FBI indictment earlier this year of a dozen current and former members of the organisation which he has run since 1998.

So far, no criminal proceedings have been brought against Blatter, but that changed on Friday when the Swiss government announced its intention to try him over his dealings with the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) and Uefa chief Michel Platini.

“Criminal proceedings against the president of FIFA, Mr. Joseph Blatter, have been opened on September 24, 2015 on suspicion of criminal mismanagement and – alternatively – misappropriation,” the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) said in a statement.

“On the one hand, the OAG suspects that on September 12, 2005 Mr. Joseph Blatter has signed a contract with the Caribbean Football Union (with Jack Warner as its president at this time); this contract was unfavourable for Fifa.

“On the other hand, there is as suspicion that, in the implementation of this agreement, Joseph Blatter also violated his fiduciary duties and acted against the interest of Fifa and/or Fifa Marketing & TV AG.

“Additionally, Mr. Joseph Blatter is suspected of a disloyal payment of £1.34 million to Michel Platini, president of Uefa, at the expense of Fifa, which was allegedly made for work performed between January 1999 and June 2002; this payment was executed in February 2011.

“On September 25, 2015, representatives of the OAG interrogated the defendant Joseph Blatter following a meeting of the Fifa Executive Committee.

“At the same time, Michel Platini was heard as a person asked to provide information. Furthermore, the OAG conducted on September 25, 2015 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.”

Earlier in September, allegations emerged which suggested Blatter had signed off on selling World Cup broadcasting rights to the CFU – which was run by disgraced former Fifa vice-president Jack Warner – for a fraction of their value.

Fifa released a subsequent statement insisting it has helped – and will continue to help – legal enquiries from Swiss law enforcement over its investigation into Blatter and other members of staff.

“Since May 27, 2015, Fifa has been cooperating with the OAG and has complied with all requests for documents, data and other information,” it said in a subsequent statement. “We will continue this level of cooperation throughout the investigation.

“Today, at the home of Fifa, representatives from the OAG conducted interviews and gathered documents pursuant to its investigation. Fifa facilitated these interviews as part of our ongoing cooperation. We will have no further comment on the matter as it is an active investigation.”