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Platini-Blatter trial: the intriguing testimony of the former FIFA chief financial officer

His testimony was particularly awaited, Tuesday, June 14, in the great hall of the Swiss Federal Criminal Court (TPF) in Bellinzona. On the fifth day of the trial of Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter, the former financial director of the International Football Federation (FIFA) Markus Kattner was heard for forty minutes in an electric atmosphere.

Former zealous lieutenant of Sepp Blatter (2003-2016), the Swiss-German with a colossal physique was not questioned on the merits of the case which is worth to the former French president of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and the ex-boss of FIFA to appear for “suspicions of fraud, unfair management, breach of trust and forgery in titles”. The judges only auditioned him on what makes the salt of this long political-judicial saga: the circumstances in which the Public Ministry of the Confederation (MPC) got wind of the presumed unfair payment of two million Swiss francs (1 .9 million euros) made in February 2011 by Mr. Blatter to Mr. Platini.

According to ex-prosecutor Olivier Thormann, who testified at the bar on June 9, it was Mr. Kattner who allegedly “gave the information”, on May 27, 2015, during a search of the FIFA headquarters in Zurich. That day, Mr. Kattner would have given him a ” listing “ payments made to members of the executive committee in 2010. “He told me that there was a payment there that required special explanation, with a figure that attracted attention compared to the others”, said Mr. Thormann, who opened the investigation into this payment and did not record this exchange with Mr. Kattner on the record in the criminal file.

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Two divergent versions

At the helm, Mr. Kattner coolly challenged Mr. Thormann’s version. If he admitted having ” very quickly “ handed over “a big folder with documents” to the magistrate in the presence of FIFA’s lawyers, the former FIFA chief financial officer assured that he had not directed him towards this payment, nor had “given a specific information sheet”nor does “reference to a particular payment”.

“I was then convinced of the legality of the payment, so I would have had no reason to do sosaid Mr. Kattner, dismissed in 2016 from FIFA due to “failures”. I worked for a long time with MM. Platini and Blatter and I didn’t feel they were dishonest. “I do not understand how, based on such a large number of documents and data, this payment would have given rise to an initial suspicion”insisted Mr. Kattner, who dictated the content of the famous invoice produced by Mr. Platini, in January 2011, in which he demanded from FIFA the payment of two million Swiss francs.

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