ZURICH (Reuters) - UEFA president Michel Platini says the nine-year delay in him receiving a two million Swiss francs payment, which is at the centre of a Swiss prosecutor’s investigation, was due to FIFA not being able to pay him on time.
The prosecutor said Blatter was suspected of a “disloyal payment” of 2 million Swiss francs ($2.05 million) to Platini in 2011 at the expense of FIFA, allegedly made for work performed between January 1999 and June 2002. They did not say why the payment was “disloyal” or what became of the money.
“I was employed by FIFA as a special advisor to President Sepp Blatter, working on various matters related to football, such as the international football calendar. It was a full-time job,” Frenchman Platini said in an interview with the French news agency AFP.
“Like I explained to the Swiss authorities, I received only part of the agreed salary between 1998 to 2002.
“This occurred because, at the time, FIFA informed me that they would not be able to pay me the total agreed amount. Of course all the moneys received at the time were declared to the pertinent authorities,” he added.
Platini received the payment in 2011, the year FIFA president Sepp Blatter was re-elected.
In 2001, FIFA faced financial problems following the collapse of marketing partner ISL/ISMM.
Last year, FIFA raked in more than $2 billion in revenue while its cash reserves rose to $1.523 billion.
On Tuesday, Swiss authorities said they are treating Platini as somewhere “between a witness and an accused person” in a soccer corruption probe that was widened last week to include FIFA President Sepp Blatter.
Attorney General Michael Lauber told reporters he did not rule out searching the headquarters of UEFA as part of the investigation.
Platini is running in the FIFA election to replace Blatter in February and said his case did not change his ambition.
“I am still determined to present myself as a candidate for the FIFA presidency so I can introduce the governance reforms that are necessary to restore the order and credibility to world football,” he said in the interview.
“There is no doubt about my integrity. I have done nothing wrong. That is why I have made myself fully available to cooperate with the relevant bodies and authorities to clarify whatever may be necessary,” he added.
Reporting By Simon Evans; Editing by Bernard Orr