(REUTERS) – The official body for world football FIFA officials say they have filed a criminal complaint with cantonal prosecutor Zurich, alleging evidence of a “criminal mismanagement” of a museum project set up by former president Sepp Blatter.
Officials said their complaint “identified the direct involvement of former FIFA president Joseph S. Blatter, along with other persons” in the agreements made for the museum in the heart of Zurich.
“The complaint includes all of the project costs at CHF 500 million ($ 564.59 million), and states that the previous FIFA administration poured CHF 140 million into renovation and renovation of a building not owned by the organization, while also locking itself in a long-term rental agreement on unfavorable terms compared to standard market rates, which will all cost FIFA CHF 360 million by the 2045 expiration date, ”said FIFA in a statement.
“That’s half a billion Swiss francs that could and should have been channeled into the development of global football.”
Lorenz Erni, Blatter’s lawyer, said: “The allegations are unfounded and mercilessly reprimanded.”
Blatter, who was FIFA president for 17 years, was later suspended and banned by the football body’s ethics committee after he became the subject of criminal proceedings in Switzerland in 2015. FIFA Deputy Secretary General Alasdair Bell said , that a ‘forensic examination’ had been carried out into the project.
“That audit revealed a wide range of suspicious circumstances and control failures, some of which may be criminal in nature and need to be properly investigated by the relevant authorities,” Bell said in the statement.
FIFA said it also plans to submit all relevant documentation to its own ethics committee.
The complaint is the latest in a series of legal issues related to FIFA.
FIFA’s current president, Gianni Infantino, is himself facing criminal proceedings by a special prosecutor who is looking into a deal a Swiss official had with former Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber. Infantino and Lauber have denied any wrongdoing.
After that case was announced, Blatter called for the suspension of Infantino.
Earlier this month, special prosecutor Stefan Keller said he had asked Swiss authorities to investigate Infantino’s use of private air travel.
“FIFA and its president will obviously take all necessary steps and legal remedies to put an end to this unfounded and unintentional accusation,” the organization said in response to Keller.