FIFA president Sepp Blatter under criminal investigation by Swiss officials
The Swiss attorney general has announced criminal proceedings have been opened against FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
The attorney general's office in Switzerland said it has opened criminal proceedings against Mr Blatter over possible criminal mismanagement and misappropriation of Fifa money.
The Swiss federal office said Mr Blatter was interrogated after chairing a meeting of Fifa's executive committee on Friday.
Fifa vice-president Michel Platini was questioned as a witness over a suspected "disloyal payment" of two million Swiss francs he allegedly received from Mr Blatter in February 2011, Swiss authorities said.
Under Swiss law, a payment is classified as disloyal if it is against the best interests of the employer - in this case Fifa.
Mr Platini is the favourite to succeed the outgoing Mr Blatter as Fifa president next February.
A statement from the Swiss attorney general said: "Swiss criminal proceedings against the President of FIFA, Mr. Joseph Blatter, have been opened on 24 September 2015 on suspicion of criminal mismanagement and - alternatively - misappropriation.
"Mr. Joseph Blatter is suspected of a disloyal payment of CHF 2 Mio. to Michel Platini, President of Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), at the expense of FIFA, which was allegedly made for work performed between January 1999 and June 2002; this payment was executed in February 2011."
The attorney general also confirmed FIFA headquarters, including Blatter's office, have been searched.
Mr Blatter is the first person to be formally quizzed as a suspect in the Swiss case, which Fifa instigated last November when it complained about possible money laundering in the 2018-2022 World Cup bidding contests won by Russia and Qatar.
The allegations also relate to World Cup broadcasting contracts Mr Blatter agreed to with former Fifa vice-president Jack Warner in 2005.
The Swiss attorney general claims Blatter signed a contract with Jack Warner's Caribbean Football Union which was "unfavourable for FIFA" and that, in this agreement, Blatter "violated his fiduciary duties" and "acted against the interest of FIFA".
A statement from FIFA said: "Since 27 May 2015, FIFA has been cooperating with the Office of the Swiss Attorney General (OAG) and has complied with all requests for documents, data and other information. We will continue this level of cooperation throughout the investigation.
"Today, at the Home of FIFA, representatives from the Office of the Swiss Attorney General conducted interviews and gathered documents pursuant to its investigation. FIFA facilitated these interviews as part of our ongoing cooperation.
"We will have no further comment on the matter as it is an active investigation."
Belfast Telegraph Digital