Ex-UEFA chief Platini received Picasso gift from Russian oligarch Usmanov


Paris, April 5, 2022 (AFP) - Michel Platini on Tuesday responded to revelations about his ownership of a work by Pablo Picasso by announcing another legal offensive in his battle with FIFA boss Gianni Infantino.

On Monday, French investigative site Mediapart reported that phone taps by the National Financial Prosecutor's Office recorded Platini telling his wife in 2017 that he had received a "painting" from "Usmanov".

Mediapart said Platini was referring to oligarch Alisher Usmanov, at the time a shareholder in English Premier League giants Arsenal and currently targeted by sanctions after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Mediapart said the wiretap was part of an investigation into Platini's role in the 2010 votes to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively.

Platini had supported Russia's succesful bid to host the 2018 World Cup.

While Platini did not respond to queries from AFP, his entourage told French media that while he had received a Picasso from Usmanov in 2016, it was a "lithograph", not a painting, and it was a 61st birthday present.

On Tuesday, Platini said he filed a legal complaint in Paris last November against Infantino for "active influence peddling" and against FIFA's former legal director, Marco Villiger, for "complicity in active influence peddling".

Platini was suspended from all football-related activities for four years at the end of 2015 over a 2 million Swiss franc (1.8m euro) payment from FIFA in 2011 which was approved by then-president Sepp Blatter without a written contract.

The case is still being investigated by the Swiss judiciary for "disloyal management", "breach of trust" and "swindling".

Platini has said he was the victim of a "plot" to prevent him succeeding the disgraced Blatter as FIFA president. Instead, former UEFA number two Infantino was elected.

Ex-UEFA chief Platini received Picasso gift from Russian oligarch Usmanov
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