Will the French justice investigation into the controversial awarding of the 2018 and 2022 Football World Cups to Russia and Qatar lead to the questioning of football personalities before the opening of the next World Cup in the gas emirate, organized in November and December? At this stage, no indictment has been pronounced in the context of the judicial investigation opened, in November 2019, by the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) for “active and passive corruption”, as well as for “receiving and laundering of these offences.
The Mediapart news site said on Monday April 4 that French investigators were polarized in 2017, as part of the preliminary investigation, on a ” Picasso painting ” that Michel Platini would have potentially received from the Russian oligarch Alicher Ousmanov, a close friend of Vladimir Putin currently targeted by sanctions from the European Union (EU) after the invasion of Ukraine by his country.
Since 2014 and an article from Sunday Times in 2014, it was rumored that the Frenchman, who at the time was the president of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), received such a gift from Russia.
In December 2017, French investigators simultaneously searched the homes of Michel Platini, in Saint-Cloud (Hauts-de-Seine) and Cassis (Bouches-du-Rhône). According to Mediapart, they only found a lithograph by Picasso in Saint-Cloud.
However, in a telephone tap relayed by Mediapart, the wife of Michel Platini, Christelle, mentioned, during a conversation on December 14, 2017 with her husband, the existence of a “Ushmanov painting”, “the Picasso below Ouchmanov”, in their residence in Cassis. “I think I kept it. You said, “I don’t want that stuff,” […] when he offered itMrs. Platini had told her husband.
Mediapart wonders about this element in the context of the allocation, in December 2010, of the 2018 World Cup to Russia. At the time, Mr. Platini had for a time leaned towards the candidacy of England, before favoring that of the Netherlands-Belgium tandem, then that of Russia, victorious at the ballot box in the second round. He had previously secured the victory of a European country for the 2018 World Cup by maneuvering to dismiss the United States’ candidacy for this edition.
The Platini camp evokes “two lithographs by Picasso”
According to Michel Platini’s entourage, the former number 10 of the Blues has “received two lithographs by Picasso”. “A Naked Woman”offered to the former lawn star, “twenty or twenty-five years ago” by an Italian journalist from the Gazetta dello Sportand another, “in June 2016 and therefore after the 2018 World Cup award vote”for the 61st birthday of Mr. Platini, received from the billionaire Alicher Ousmanov.
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