Despite an ongoing criminal investigation regarding "criminal mismanagement" and "suspicion of misappropriation," FIFA President Sepp Blatter insists that he's done "nothing illegal or improper." The president's legal team informed the public on Monday that Sepp Blatter is sticking to a position of innocence following an interrogation carried out by Swiss investigators.
"President Blatter spoke to FIFA staff today and informed the staff that he was cooperating with the authorities, reiterated that he had done nothing illegal or improper and stated that he would remain as president of FIFA," said the statement.
According to the Associated Press, while Sepp Blatter himself claims he's done nothing illegal, the FIFA President was asked to resign only four days after being re-elected to his fifth term, which is otherwise supposed to last four more years. Sepp Blatter is scheduled to step down this coming February, forcing an emergency election to fill the position. However, Blatter is standing his ground, planning to remain President of FIFA despite continuous accusations of corruption, including bribes, kickbacks, fraudulent ticket sales, and much more.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the office of Sepp Blatter was raided by Swiss investigators to find evidence linking him to unlawful and underhanded payments between him and other sports management officials who may be involved in the criminal conspiracy.
Among the shady dealings being examined by Swiss investigators is a 2011 contract with the Caribbean Football Union signed by Sepp Blatter, which supposedly allots a "disloyal payment" of two million Swiss francs (or $2 million) to the head of the UEFA, Michel Platini, according to WMUR. While both Blatter and Platini claim the agreement was completely clean and legal, Michel Platini is currently running to replace Sepp Blatter as FIFA President, raising more questions about suspicious activity within the upper management.
"On the Platini matter, President Blatter on Friday shared with the Swiss authorities the fact that Mr. Platini had a valuable employment relationship with FIFA serving as an advisor to the president beginning in 1998," continued the statement given by Sepp Blatter's legal team. "He explained to the prosecutors that the payments were valid compensation and nothing more and were properly accounted for within FIFA including the withholding of Social Security contributions."
Michel Platini released a similar statement, denying any criminal wrongdoing between himself and current FIFA President Sepp Blatter.
"This income has all been fully declared by me to the authorities, in accordance with Swiss law. I was interviewed by the Swiss authorities about this matter last Friday, not as a person accused of any wrongdoing, but simply in my capacity as a person providing information... I am aware that these events may harm my image and reputation and by consequence, the image of UEFA, the organization of which I am proud to be president. For these reasons, I wish to use all my energies to ensure that any issues or misunderstandings can be resolved as soon as possible."
Like Sepp Blatter, Platini is claiming to have done nothing illegal and is also refusing to step down as president of UEFA, or to withdraw from the upcoming 2016 election for FIFA President.
This is not the first time leaders in the FIFA organization have been investigated for corruption and criminal activity. The FBI charged several FIFA officials with crimes similar to those alleged of Sepp Blatter, including wire fraud, money laundering, and racketeering. So far, a total of 14 people have been indicted as a result of the FIFA investigations, which began last May.
Do you think Sepp Blatter is guilty of any crimes? Or do you believe that he has done nothing illegal or improper as he claims?