The Swiss special prosecutor has opened criminal proceedings against FIFA president Gianni Infantino in connection with relations with Michael Lauber, the country’s attorney general.
Lauber agreed to resign last week after a court charged that he had covered up private meetings with the president of the governing body of football and lied to subordinates when his office investigated alleged FIFA corruption.
As a special prosecutor, Stefan Keller has been assigned to investigate criminal proceedings against Infantino, Lauber, and other individuals. Consequently, charges have begun against Infantino and Upper Valais Chief Public Prosecutor, Rinaldo Arnold.
Additionally, Keller has applied for permission to open proceedings against Lauber.
A statement by the Swiss Federal Council confirmed that Keller “has concluded that there are signs of illegal activity in connection with the meetings between Attorney General Lauber and FIFA Chairman Gianni Infantino and the Upper Valais Chief Public Prosecutor.’
Both Lauber and Infantino have denied any wrongdoing.
The statement from the Federal Council added: “The presumption of innocence extends to attorney general Michael Lauber, FIFA president Gianni Infantino, and chief prosecutor Rinaldo Arnold. The special federal public prosecutor is impartial in his operations.”
According to the release, the charges against Infantino and Arnold “relate to abuse of public office, violation of official confidentiality, aiding criminals and incitement to such crimes.”
In response to Thursday’s report, Infantino said: “People remember well where FIFA was as an organization back in 2015, and how substantial judicial intervention was needed to help restore the organization’s reputation. As President of FIFA, it has been my intention from day one, and it remains my intention, to assist the authorities in investigating past FIFA wrongdoings. For precisely these reasons, FIFA officials have met with prosecutors in other jurisdictions worldwide. Thanks to the cooperation of FIFA, and in particular in the United States of America, where our cooperation has resulted in more than 40 criminal prosecutions, people have been convicted and sentenced. I also remain completely supportive of the legal process and FIFA remains willing to cooperate completely with the Swiss authorities for this reason.”