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Blatter slams ethics committee in open letter to FIFA members

FIFA President Sepp Blatter has maintained his innocence amid a 90-day suspension from the ethics committee. The letter was sent to FIFA members as two officials were flown to the US to stand trial on corruption charges.

In an open letter to FIFA members, Sepp Blatter - the president of the world football body - questioned the credibility of the ethics committee that temporarily suspended him and UEFA President Michel Platini.

"The manner in which the investigatory chamber of the ethics committee communicates in the ongoing investigation, calling for the maximum penalty and reinforcing public prejudice, introduces a tendentious and dangerous dimension," wrote Blatter in the open letter.

Both Blatter and Platini were handed 90-day suspensions by the FIFA ethics committee pending an investigation into a payment of 2 million Swiss francs (1.85 million euros, $2.02 million) to the UEFA chief.

"I can assure you that: it was legal because it was based on a verbal agreement. And agreements must be adhered to. This payment was put though the full administrative process, the correctness of which was confirmed by all competent FIFA bodies - including the Congress," the FIFA boss added.

Blatter is expected to appear before an ethics panel to testify on Thursday, while Platini will do so on Friday.

"I will fight on for my rights and at the end of this week present my view before the adjudicatory chamber with great conviction and firm belief in justice," Blatter said.

Off to the US

Meanwhile, the Swiss Federal Office of Justice announced that FIFA Vice President Juan Angel Napout, who also serves as the president of the South American soccer confederation CONMEBOL, was extradited to the US on Tuesday on corruption charges.

Former Honduran President Rafael Callejas, who serves on FIFA's Television and Marketing Committee, flew to the US on a private jet after US authorities accused him and 15 other defendants of racketeering, fraud and money laundering, said Foreign Minister Arturo Corrales.

Both Napout and Callejas have issued not guilty pleas over the charges they are facing.

The world football body is enduring the biggest scandal in its history after US and Swiss prosecutors indicted several senior officials and marketing executives in May.

Watch video 01:45

FIFA scandal widens | DW News

ls/gsw (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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