Fifa President Sepp Blatter is currently being questioned by representatives of the Swiss attorney general.
In a statement, the attorney general’s office said it had opened “criminal proceedings” against Mr Blatter.
Michel Platini, the Uefa president who is hoping to replace Blatter next year, was cited “as a person asked to provide information”.
Blatter is suspected of making a “disloyal payment” of 2 Million Swiss Francs (£1.3 million) to Platini, the Swiss Attorney General said.
Blatter is also being questioned over the TV rights he sold to the disgraced former Concacaf president Jack Warner at below the market rate.
Fifa headquarters was also searched and data seized from Blatter’s office, causing a scheduled press conference to be cancelled earlier today.
Full statement from the Swiss Attorney General:
The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) has opened criminal proceedings against the President of Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) on suspicion of criminal mismanagement as well as – alternatively – on suspicion of misappropriation.
Swiss criminal proceedings against the President of FIFA, Mr. Joseph Blatter, have been opened on 24 September 2015 on suspicion of criminal mismanagement (Article 158 Swiss Criminal Code / SCC) and – alternatively – misappropriation (Article 138 Swiss Criminal Code / SCC).
On the one hand, the OAG suspects that on 12 September 2005 Mr. Joseph Blatter has signed a contract with the Caribbean Football Union (with Jack Warner as the President at this time); this contract was unfavorable for FIFA. On the other hand, there is as suspicion that, in the implementation of this agreement, Joseph Blatter also violated his fiduciary duties and acted against the interest of FIFA and/or FIFA Marketing & TV AG.
Additionally, 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.
On 25 September 2015, representatives of the OAG interrogated the defendant Joseph Blatter following a meeting of the FIFA Executive Committee. At the same time, Michel Platini was heard as a person asked to provide information (Article 178 of the Swiss Code of Criminal Procedure). Furthermore, the OAG conducted on 25 September 2015 a house search at FIFA Headquarters with the support of the Federal Criminal Police. The office of the FIFA President has been searched and data seized.
As for all defendants, the presumption of innocence applies for Mr. Joseph Blatter.
In May, seven Fifa executives were arrested in Zurich on the eve of the Fifa presidential election as American prosecutors revealed charges of money laundering, racketeering and fraud against 14 individuals.
Of the 14 Fifa officials indicted in May, 13 have been arrested of whom three have been charged in US courtrooms and 10 await extradition.
On Thursday, Fifa handed over emails from secretary general, Jérôme Valcke, who was suspended last week in the wake of allegations that he had profited from black market World Cup tickets. Valcke, widely regarded as Blatter’s right-hand man, denies the allegations.
Fifa said in a statement on Friday that it had been co-operating with the attorney general since 27 May, 2015 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.”