Sepp Blatter: ‘I’ve Done Nothing Illegal,’ Says FIFA President

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(CNN) — Sepp Blatter is going nowhere.

The embattled FIFA president has insisted he has done nothing wrong after the Swiss attorney general opened an investigation targeting the 70-year-old, who has been head of world football’s governing body since 1998, on “suspicion of criminal mismanagement.”

“President Blatter spoke to FIFA staff today and informed the staff that he was cooperating with the authorities, reiterated that he had done nothing illegal or improper and stated that he would remain as president of FIFA,” read a statement issued by Blatter’s lawyers Monday.

The Swiss authorities are examining a contract signed by Blatter with the Caribbean Football Union and an alleged “disloyal payment” of two million Swiss francs (about $2 million) to Michel Platini, the head of European football body UEFA, made in 2011.

Both Blatter and Platini, who is in the running to succeed Blatter in 2016, insist there was nothing untoward about the payment to the Frenchman for work he did for the world governing body between 1999 and 2002.

“On the Platini matter, President Blatter on Friday shared with the Swiss authorities the fact that Mr. Platini had a valuable employment relationship with FIFA serving as an advisor to the president beginning in 1998.

“He explained to the prosecutors that the payments were valid compensation and nothing more and were properly accounted for within FIFA including the withholding of Social Security contributions.”

Meanwhile, Platin explained he has “not been accused of any wrongdoing.”

“This income has all been fully declared by me to the authorities, in accordance with Swiss law,” read a statement from the Frenchman.

“I was interviewed by the Swiss authorities about this matter last Friday, not as a person accused of any wrongdoing, but simply in my capacity as a person providing information.”

Platini, who became president of UEFA in 2007, is also a vice president of FIFA.

The 60-year-old became a member of FIFA’s executive committee in 2002 as well as chairman of the technical development committee and worked on the 2006 World Cup organizing committee.

While Platini accepted his actions may have harmed UEFA, he has no intention of relinquishing his presidency.

“I am aware that these events may harm my image and reputation and by consequence, the image of UEFA, the organization of which I am proud to be president,” he said.

“For these reasons, I wish to use all my energies to ensure that any issues or misunderstandings can be resolved as soon as possible.”

FIFA was plunged into crisis in late May when seven officials were charged by the FBI with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering.

The charges are part of a U.S. prosecution that indicted a total of 14 people from around the globe.

Meanwhile, a separate probe by Swiss authorities is investigating potential corruption into the bidding process for both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, which will be hosted by Russia and Qatar.

Qatar’s controversial bid for the latter was backed by Platini, and the tournament has since been switched from the emirate’s summer months to the winter following concerns over unsafe temperatures.

Platini, South Korea billionaire Chung Mong-Joon, Jordan’s Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein, ex-Brazil player Zico and Liberian FA chairman Musa Bility have all announced their intention to run for president of FIFA.

To stand in the February 2016 presidential election, candidates will need letters of support from at least five FIFA member nations.

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