The Swiss attorney general opened criminal proceedings Friday against FIFA president Joseph “Sepp” Blatter on suspicions of “criminal mismanagement” and “misappropriation.”
The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland noted, in a statement released Friday, several instances where it believes the head of world soccer’s governing body “violated his fiduciary duties and acted against the interest of FIFA.”
The attorney general’s office said it suspects that, in 2005, Blatter also signed a contract with the Caribbean Football Union that was “unfavorable for FIFA.” It is also investigating a 2011 incident where Blatter is suspected of making a “disloyal payment” of 2 million Swiss francs, or a little more than $2 million, to Michel Platini, the president of Union of European Football Associations.
OAG representatives conducted interviews and collected documents at FIFA today as part of its criminal investigation, FIFA said in a statement, adding that the organization was cooperating with Swiss investigators.
At last minute Friday morning, FIFA canceled a news conference with Blatter. The appearance would have been the first time Blatter would have spoken publicly since the FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke was placed on leave last week, following accusations involving 2014 World Cup ticket sales, Reuters reported.
Blatter has been embroiled in controversy over the past several months after allegations arose that FIFA officials may have been bribed during the bidding process for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The U.S. also opened an investigation earlier this year into corruption allegations involving FIFA. Backed by an FBI investigation, Swiss authorities indicted nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives in May on racketeering, money laundering and corruption charges.
Days later, Blatter was re-elected to a fifth term as FIFA’s president. But on June 2, Blatter announced he would resign, although he is not expected to step down until next year.