Former UEFA president Platini arrested amid corruption investigation

Michel Platini © EPA/JEAN-CHRISTOPHE BOTT. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

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MOSCOW, Jun 18, 2019, TASS. Former President of UEFA Michel Platini has been placed in custody as part of an investigation into alleged corruption during the bidding process to host the 2022 World Cup, French Mediapart portal reported on Tuesday, reported the TASS.

The 63-year-old former French football player is questioned as a “free suspect.”

In December 2010, Qatar won its bid to host the 2022 World Cup. Later, some football officials accused Qatar’s representatives of buying votes in favor of their bid. However, an investigation carried out by football’s world governing body FIFA did not confirm any fact of vote buying.

In 2013, France Football magazine reported that then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Platini ensured Qatar’s victory in the election. According to the French magazine, in November 2010 Sarkozy, Platini, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who is the current Emir of Qatar, and then-key owner of Paris Saint-Germain club met in the Elysee Palace. After this publication, Platini threatened to sue France Football.

In June 2014, some British media reports said that before the vote on the 2022 World Cup host, Platini had held a secret meeting with former President of the Asian Football Confederation Mohamed bin Hammam, who reportedly paid $5 mln to get support for Qatar’s bid.

Platini was elected UEFA president in January 2007, then in March 2011 he was re-elected, and in March 2015 he was unanimously elected to the third term. In late 2015, Platini, who held the position of FIFA’s Vice President, was suspended by the ethics committee for eight years.

Platini was suspended after it became known that Sepp Blatter, who headed FIFA between 1998 and 2015, transferred 2 mln Swiss francs (1.7 mln euro) to Platini’s accounts from FIFA’s funds in 2011. Later FIFA’s appeals committee reduced Platini’s suspension to six years and in May 2016 the Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected the French official’s appeal, leaving in force his six-year suspension.

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