Swiss MPs reappoint top prosecutor despite FIFA probe

Michael Lauber is still being investigated over a series of secret meetings he had with FIFA president Gianni Infantino during the corruption probe

Swiss Federal Attorney Michael Lauber speaks at a press conference after his re-election by the Swiss Federal Assembly, in Bern, Switzerland. EPA/PETER SCHNEIDER
Swiss Federal Attorney Michael Lauber speaks at a press conference after his re-election by the Swiss Federal Assembly, in Bern, Switzerland. EPA/PETER SCHNEIDER

The Swiss parliament has reappointed its attorney general despite him being investigated for misconduct as part of the FIFA corruption scandal.

On Wednesday politicians narrowly voted to extend the mandate of Michael Lauber for an additional four years with 129 parliamentary votes out of a possible 243 in favour.

Earlier this month the parliament's judiciary commission had recommended that the 53-year-old prosecutor should not be reelected for a third term after investigators opened a disciplinary investigation looking into a series of secret meetings that he had with FIFA president Gianni Infantino in the midst of a corruption probe into football's world governing body.

The recommendation came after the Swiss Federal Criminal Court ruled in June that Mr Lauber had committed professional misconduct by failing to report and document several meetings with Mr Infantino, and ordered him to recuse himself from the case.

Two Lauber-Infantino meetings were exposed last year by "Football Leaks", a cross-border investigation by several European news organisations.

The body that oversees Mr Lauber's office, known as the AS-MPC, has said that those two 2016 contacts, held shortly after Mr Infantino took charge of FIFA from the disgraced Sepp Blatter, were "not problematic".

But during the inquiry into those two meetings, Mr Lauber told the oversight body that he had had no other informal contacts with Mr Infantino.

Then Swiss media reported a third Lauber-Infantino meeting in January 2017.

Switzerland's FIFA investigation concerns alleged misconduct that occurred before Mr Infantino replaced Mr Blatter in 2016.

Mr Lauber's office has steadfastly defended the meetings, insisting they were logistically necessary given the scope of the FIFA graft probe.

Switzerland has pursued a number of cases since a raid on a luxury hotel in Zurich in May 2015 led to the arrests of a several FIFA executives and exposed a corrupt underbelly in world football.

Published: September 25, 2019 05:03 PM

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