Sepp Blatter, Michel Platini FIFA probe making 'exceptional' progress
An investigation into a "disloyal" payment of two million Swiss francs made by FIFA to suspended UEFA president Michel Platini is making rapid progress, according to a spokesman for Switzerland's attorney general's office.
Platini and outgoing FIFA president Sepp Blatter were banned from footballing activity for eight years in December after the £1.35 million payment became the subject of a Swiss criminal investigation. The money was transferred to Platini in 2011 for work the Frenchman carried out as an advisor to Blatter at least nine years previously.
Platini and Blatter have admitted that there was no written contract to cover the payment but both are contesting the bans imposed on them by FIFA's Ethics Committee. The pair were both in court this month as they attempted to have their bans overturned at a FIFA Appeals Committee hearing and are currently awaiting verdicts.
Andre Marty, head of communications at the Swiss attorney general's office, has confirmed that the Swiss investigation into the matter is moving swiftly
FIFA ELECTION COVERAGE ON ESPN
- Feb. 22-26, 1:30 p.m. ET (ESPN): Outside the Lines
- Feb. 23-26; 5 p.m. ET (ESPN2): ESPN FC
- Feb. 26, 7 a.m. ET (ESPN2): SportsCenter
- LIVE on ESPN3: Feb. 26, from 2 a.m. ET
"Normally in cases of this type relating to money laundering, investigations last four or five years," Marty told France Football.
"If we can already say that we have a chance of finishing our investigation from here until the end of the year or the start of next year, it will be at an exceptional speed -- not at all usual in these types of cases.
"It would seem that we might have sufficient elements to allow us to say that, yes, we're in a situation where we will be able to write an indictment which will be sent to the court."
Marty told France Football that, as they tried to make sense of all the potential evidence, investigators had the "good fortune" of receiving assistance from people who seem to know the "reality" of the situation.
"Between the elements we received from banks and everything that was sequestered, it represents the equivalent of 11 terabytes [worth of information]," he said. "In this context, it's very useful to talk to people who can tell us if we need to look around such and such a payment or such and such a contract. Now we know where and what to look for. I confirm that."
Marty also said investigators had taken a particular interest in Platini and Blatter's public comments about the payment.
"It was quite interesting. The two people had different versions of the conditions of this two million Swiss francs payment," he said. "According to their declarations, there are differences, which is precisely what interests us.
"Which is really the version that's closest to the reality? Why these contradictions? That's what the working group is in the process of clarifying in order to know exactly what happened."