Whistleblower helps prosecutors in Blatter case

Sepp Blatter (File)
Sepp Blatter (File)

Berlin - A whistleblower from within the ruling football body FIFA has helped Swiss authorities in their investigation against banned FIFA president Joseph Blatter, the spokesman of Switzerland's Attorney General office said on Thursday.

"A witness, a so-called whistleblower, gave us interesting information relevant to the case which has brought us significantly further in the criminal investigation," spokesman Andre Marty told German state broadcasters ARD from Berne.

Marty said it will be known in late 2016 or early 2017 whether "there is enough evidence to formally charge Blatter."

The Swiss Attorney General, Michael Lauber, launched the probe against Blatter in September on suspicion of mismanagement and/or misappropriation of FIFA money. Swiss authorities are also looking into corruption at FIFA around the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

The Blatter case is about a "disloyal payment" of $2 million in 2011 to the also banned UEFA president Michel Platini for FIFA work done between 1998 and 2002; and a Caribbean television rights contract he sold under value to now disgraced former FIFA vice president Jack Warner.

Blatter and Platini were banned for eight years by FIFA's ethics committee over the payment. They protest their innocence and have appealed to the FIFA appeal committee.

Blatter will officially step down as FIFA president at an extraordinary congress on February 26, but wants to chair the meeting of the 209 member federations who will elect his successor from five candidates.

"I think that it will be clear by the end of 2016 to the middle of 2017 whether there will be enough evidence to bring about a prosecution," Marty said.

The intervention by Swiss authorities led the FIFA ethics committee to provisionally suspend Blatter and Platini in October, then ban both for eight years last month. Both deny wrongdoing and have appealed against their sanctions.

Blatter still hopes to host the FIFA presidential election congress on February 26 in Zurich, when his replacement will be elected.

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