Blatter and Platini face 20-month suspended prison terms

Blatter and Platini face 20-month suspended prison terms

Blatter and Platini face 20-month suspended prison terms

BELLINZONA, Switzerland (AP) — Prosecutors in the Fraud Trial Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter and Vice President Michel Platini on Wednesday asked for 20 months suspended prison terms for both men.

Blatter and Platini, a former captain of the French national team and president of the European governing body UEFA, faced sentences of up to five years for financial misconduct, but an actual jail term was deemed unlikely ahead of their 11-day trial. The verdicts are expected on July 8.

Prosecutor Thomas Hildbrand also asked the three judges of the Swiss Federal Criminal Court to ask Platini to pay FIFA more than 2.2 million Swiss francs ($2.2 million).

Blatter and Platini deny fraud and lower charges related to a FIFA-approved $2 million payment to France in 2011. At the time, Platini was UEFA president, FIFA vice president and was expected to succeed Blatter, likely in 2015. .

Platini said in a statement published after the court hearing that he was “calm and confident”.

“Today’s prosecutor’s charges are unfounded,” Platini said. “The debates of the trial have shown that this criminal procedure had no reason to exist.”

The prosecution argued that there was no legal or contractual basis for FIFA to pay Platini’s bill for working as a presidential adviser in Blatter’s first term between 1998 and 2002. FIFA also paid $229,000 in social security taxes in Zurich.

Both have long denied doing anything wrong, claiming they struck a verbal deal in 1998 for Platini to get extra salary that FIFA could not afford at the time. Platini signed a contract in August 1999 to pay 300,000 Swiss francs ($300,000) annually.

Their defense previously failed in FIFA’s Ethics Committee, which banned them from football and removed them from office, the FIFA Appeals Committee, and later in separate appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Blatter has said FIFA has correctly accounted for the money, and Platini has claimed the allegation came to light in September 2015 to dissuade him from campaigning to become FIFA president.

In June 2015, Blatter announced his plan to step down as president early as a result of an extensive US corruption investigation. A separate but collaborative case from Swiss prosecutors led to the Platini payment being investigated.

Blatter and Platini, 86, testified last week and both are expected to make final statements at the end of the trial on June 22.

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