Geneva - French authorities have seized documents from the country's
football federation in connection with the Swiss criminal investigation
targeting former FIFA president Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini,
Switzerland said on Wednesday.
The search was conducted Tuesday -
two days before Blatter's 80th birthday - with Swiss officials present
while French investigators searched the French Football Federation (FFF)
Documents in connection with Blatter's infamous 2.0
million Swiss franc payment to UEFA's
fallen president Platini of France, "were seized" in the search, the
office of Switzerland's attorney general said in a statement.
The statement said it asked France for cooperation on January 14.
to that request... and in close coordination with the Office of the
Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG), the French Financial Prosecution
Office proceeded yesterday to a search of the offices of the French
Football Federation," the statement said.
It added that the search was "in connection with the criminal proceedings against Mr. Joseph Blatter."
A French judiciary source said the search lasted all day and that an official statement was expected later on Wednesday.
opened an investigation against Blatter, a Swiss citizen, in September
for alleged criminal mismanagement during his tenure as FIFA's
It also suspects Blatter of making a payment that was "disloyal" to FIFA.
payment was the 2.0 million Swiss francs Blatter authorised to Platini
in 2011, reportedly for consulting work the Frenchman performed a decade
Doubts surrounding that payment led FIFA to ban both Blatter and Platini from football for six years.
In the Swiss case, Platini has been questioned with a status that falls between that of a witness and an accused.
"Mr. Michel Platini's status in the proceedings has remained unchanged," the Swiss attorney general said Wednesday.
1999 and 2002, Platini worked for FIFA out of offices rented by FFF in
Paris, according to sources close to world football's governing body.
who on Thursday will be celebrating his 80th birthday, was replaced on
February 26 by 45-year-old Gianni Infantino as FIFA's president, ending
his 18-year reign.
Infantino, who is also Swiss, has vowed to turn
the page on the crisis engulfing the organisation, which erupted last
May when Swiss police, upon request from US authorities, arrested seven
FIFA officials at a luxury Zurich hotel.
The US justice department
has since charged 39 people within world football and two companies
over graft going back decades, with trials that could start this year.
Switzerland, in addition to probing Blatter, is investigating possible
corruption during the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, won by
Russia and Qatar.
Blatter in an interview earlier this week vowed to clear his name before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
cannot just let things stand as they are. The truth must be told and
justice will be given to those who have it on their side," he told SID,
an AFP subsidiary, in an interview.
A successful appeal at CAS will have no impact on the Swiss criminal investigation.