A Swiss special prosecutor, Stefan Keller, has launched a criminal case against FIFA president Gianni Infantino on Thursday after he met with the Swiss former attorney general.
Infantino, a former FIFA secretary had met with the Attorney General a few months ago. Keller has closed an investigation into two complaints involving Infantino and Attorney General Michael Lauber. The Attorney-general had resigned from his office last week after turning up “elements that make up reprehensible behaviour.”
According to a statement from the Swiss authority overseeing the federal prosecutors office, Keller had after opening a criminal case against Infantino and Valais prosecutor Rinaldo Arnold, sought authorization to open a legal case against Lauber too.
Keller, a legal practitioner who was named into the office of a special prosecutor on June 29, found that Lauber might have been involved in the abuse of public office, breach of official secrecy. He is also accused to have assisted the “offenders”.
Due to these allegations, the supervisory authority for the office of the attorney general in its statement said that other criminal acts and proceedings could also be considered.
Infantino, others remain innocent until proven guilty
In this kind of case, the suspects enjoy the benefit from a presumption of innocence in Switzerland until legal proceedings are completed.
Reacting to the development, FIFA in a statement said it is willing to fully cooperate with the investigation.
Infantino also said that meeting with the Attorney General of Switzerland is perfectly legitimate and legal.
“People remember well where FIFA was as an institution back in 2015, and how substantial judicial intervention was actually required to help restore the credibility of the organization,” said the FIFA President earlier today.
“As President of FIFA, it has been my aim from day one, and it remains my aim, to assist the authorities with investigating past wrongdoings at FIFA. FIFA officials have met with prosecutors in other jurisdictions across the world for exactly these purposes. People have been convicted and sentenced, thanks to FIFA’s cooperation, and especially in the United States of America, where our cooperation has resulted in over 40 criminal convictions.
“Therefore, I remain fully supportive of the judicial process, and FIFA remains willing to fully cooperate with the Swiss authorities for these purposes,” he said.
Recall that Lauber had tendered his resignation on Friday, few minutes before a federal court upheld allegations that he had lied about a meeting he had with Infantino during a sprawling investigation into football corruption. This came in response to Lauber’s appeal against being disciplined in March for misconduct.
In the prosecutor’s note, the internal disciplinary case against Lauber was concerning a meeting with Infantino in June 2017 at a hotel in Bern,
Interestingly, both parties later said they could not recall their discussion at what was their third meeting in a 15-month period.
“On the basis of general life experience, such a case of collective amnesia is an aberration,” the federal court ruling said last week.
In this trajectory, Lauber might be joining former FIFA president Sepp Blatter and former UEFA president Michel Platini as senior officials in Switzerland who lost their jobs because of an investigation that began in November 2014.