Former Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) officials Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini have been charged with fraud, forging documents, and other offenses following a six-year investigation into a controversial CHF 2 million (U.S. $2.2 million) payment made out to Platini a decade ago.
Swiss prosecutors said Tuesday that Blatter unlawfully arranged transfer of the payment to Platini in 2011—some eight years after his contract had been terminated—as additional backpay for his stint as Blatter’s adviser between 1998 and 2002.
The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland said the payment “was made without a legal basis” and “damaged FIFA’s assets and unlawfully enriched Platini.”
Both men now face trial at the Swiss Federal Criminal Court. If found guilty, the pair could receive prison sentences of several years or fines.
Blatter and Platini have long denied wrongdoing, citing a verbal agreement they made more than 20 years ago that the money was to be paid.
Prosecutors had opened criminal proceedings against Blatter for alleged mismanagement offenses in September 2015. Platini, however, was only placed under formal investigation last year. Fraud allegations against both men came months after Platini’s criminal probe began.
Blatter resigned as FIFA president in 2015 following a corruption scandal involving several FIFA executives, while Platini resigned as the head of Europe’s governing soccer body, UEFA, the following year.