Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 2 December 2020

Criminal proceedings launched against Fifa president Gianni Infantino

Special prosecutor found indications of criminal conduct related to meetings between Swiss attorney general Lauber and Infantino

Fifa president Gianni Infantino has previously denied any wrongdoing. Reuters
Fifa president Gianni Infantino has previously denied any wrongdoing. Reuters

The Swiss special federal public prosecutor has opened criminal proceedings against Fifa president Gianni Infantino.

The proceedings follow an investigation by the prosecutor, Stefan Keller, into complaints regarding meetings between Infantino, Swiss attorney general Michael Lauber and the chief public prosecutor of the Upper Valais, Rinaldo Arnold.

A statement from the Swiss federal council said Keller has concluded that there are "indications of criminal conduct" in connection with those meetings.

The statement added: "This concerns abuse of public office (Article 312 of the Swiss Criminal Code), breach of official secrecy (Article 320 of the Swiss Criminal Code), assisting offenders (Article 305 of the Swiss Criminal Code) and incitement to these acts. Additional criminal acts and the commencement of further proceedings remain reserved."

It was confirmed in the same statement that Keller is seeking approval from the relevant Swiss parliamentary committees to open criminal proceedings against Lauber.

The statement concluded: "The presumption of innocence applies to attorney general Michael Lauber, Fifa president Gianni Infantino and chief public prosecutor Rinaldo Arnold."

Lauber and Infantino met twice in 2016, the year Infantino was elected Fifa president.

Infantino was asked about the case at last month's Fifa Council meeting, and described the formal complaints against him as "absurd".

"To meet with the head prosecutor or attorney general of Switzerland is perfectly legitimate and it's perfectly legal," he said.

Fifa have so far declined to comment but Infantino said last month “this whole thing is quite absurd.”

“To meet with the head prosecutor or attorney general of Switzerland is perfectly legitimate and it’s perfectly legal,” he said on June 25 during a news conference held online.

Lauber last week offered to resign after a court concluded he had covered up a meeting with Infantino and lied to supervisors while his office investigated corruption surrounding soccer's governing body.

Lauber officially tendered his resignation on Tuesday, his office said, with his last day of active duty set for August 31.

Updated: July 30, 2020 07:31 PM

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