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FIFA chief Sepp Blatter faces criminal probe in Switzerland for misusing funds

FILE - In this March 30, 2012 file photo FIFA President Sepp Blatter gestures during a press conference at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland. On Friday, Sept. 25, 2015 Swiss attorney general opened criminal proceedings against FIFA President Sepp Blatter.  (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

FILE - In this March 30, 2012 file photo FIFA President Sepp Blatter gestures during a press conference at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland. On Friday, Sept. 25, 2015 Swiss attorney general opened criminal proceedings against FIFA President Sepp Blatter. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

Sepp Blatter, the beleaguered president of the world’s soccer governing body FIFA, has been questioned by federal police in Switzerland over possible financial corruption, and the Attorney General’s Office (OAG) in that nation says that it has opened criminal proceeding against him.

A statement was issued by the OAG on Friday stated that Blatter is under “suspicion of criminal mismanagement as well as … on suspicion of misappropriation” of FIFA funds.

The investigation centers on a 2005 contract Blatter signed with the Caribbean Football Union that the OAG deems to be “unfavorable for FIFA,” adding that “Blatter also violated his fiduciary duties and acted against the interest of FIFA and/or FIFA Marketing” in the implementation of the contract.

Also mentioned was what the OAG characterized as “a disloyal payment” — meaning that it ran counter to FIFA’s interests – of about $2 million made to the group’s current vice president, Michel Platini, who is considered the frontrunner to replace Blatter as the soccer organization’s next chief.

Blatter and FIFA have been under a cloud since late May when 14 people connected to the group were charged by the U.S. with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering, including seven current officials who were arrested in Zurich.

Two days later, Blatter was re-elected to a fifth term as FIFA president.

In the last two weeks, the Swiss government approved the extradition to the U.S. of former FIFA vice president, Eugenio Figueredo of Uruguay, as well as Venezuelan executive, Rafael Esquivel.

Last week, the organization’s secretary-general, Jerome Valcke, was put on leave by FIFA while the investigation continues.

The Swiss federal office says Blatter was interrogated after chairing a meeting of FIFA's executive committee on Friday, and that Platini was questioned as a witness.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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