April 21, 2017 / 3:45 PM / 6 months ago

Fallen FIFA boss Blatter says met U.S. Justice officials, but is not a suspect

Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter poses for photographers after an interview at the terrace of the restaurant Sonnenberg in Zurich, Switzerland April 21, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

ZURICH (Reuters) - Disgraced former FIFA president Sepp Blatter said on Friday he had met lawyers from the U.S. Justice Department but was not a suspect in their corruption investigations.

The 81-year-old, banned for six years by FIFA’s own ethics committee at the height of a scandal engulfing world soccer’s governing body, told journalists he had otherwise had little contact with U.S. lawyers and was not under the scrutiny of their legal system.

Several dozen soccer officials, including a number from FIFA, were indicted in the United States in 2015 on corruption-related chances.

Blatter was not among them, although he subsequently said his lawyer had advised him not to travel abroad.

“I have had very little contact from my American lawyers because I was never a person of interest under scrutiny by the American justice,” he told a round table of international reporters on Friday.

“I have been investigated in two or three matters ... but there is no wrongdoing.”

He said Swiss prosecutors had not contacted him over a separate case initiated in September 2015 against him relating to accusations of criminal mismanagement and misappropriation. ”I have never heard anything, my lawyer has heard nothing about that.

“I have been interviewed and I will be interviewed in future but not in these cases; I am interviewed in cases concerning the activities in FIFA, as a person of information,” he said.

Blatter said he was still generally liked by his Swiss compatriots.

“Here in the city of Zurich and Switzerland in general, I am not only accepted but they like me,” said Blatter, who has denied all charged against him.

“I don’t have the impression that I am a rejected man. Why should I be rejected? I have done a good (job at) FIFA.”

Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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