ZURICH: Sepp Blatter is confident that he is not a target for the United States Justice Department in its ongoing prosecution of dozens of former senior football executives writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Sentencing of officials who have pleaded guilty in the $200m world football corruption scandal is due to begin at the end of this month but full trials of those pleading innocence are not due to be launched before November.
With the end of the investigative process in sight Blatter, disgraced and banned former president of world federation FIFA, is increasing sure of himself.
The only formal issue facing him is a criminal investigation in Switzerland over the notorious ‘disloyal payment’ to former UEFA president Michel Platini and a TV rights sale.
Separately the Swiss authorities are also investigating issues around the awards of the 2006, 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
Blatter, now 81, has told international agencies that he had met US lawyers last October or November but without further consequences.
He said: “I have had very little contact from my American lawyers because I was never a person of interest under scrutiny by the American justice.
“I have been investigated in two or three matters … but there is no wrongdoing.”
Blatter was confident that his status remained unaffected in Switzerland which has left only once – for a visit to Russia – since the coruption scandal was laid bare.
He said: “Here in the city of Zurich and Switzerland in general, I am not only accepted but they like me. I don’t have the impression that I am a rejected man. Why should I be rejected? I have done a good (job at) FIFA.
“I feel that wherever I go the people and young people recognize me and want to take a picture and say hello. There are still fans who write to me.”
He had heard nothing further about the Swiss case which was launched in September 2015.
Blatter said: “I have never heard anything, my lawyer has heard nothing about that. That does not surprise me, because there was no reasons to open a case against me.
“I have been interviewed and I will be interviewed in future but not in these cases; I am interviewed in cases concerning the activities in FIFA, as a person of information.”
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