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Criminal Probe Opened Against FIFA President Gianni Infantino for Dealings With Swiss Attorney General

Gianni Infantino is under investigation by Swiss authorities. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Gianni Infantino is under investigation by Swiss authorities. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

A special prosecutor is now looking into the dealings between FIFA boss Gianni Infantino and Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber.

Criminal proceedings have been opened against FIFA president Gianni Infantino by a special prosecutor looking into dealings between the head of the global soccer body and Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber, Swiss authorities said on Thursday.

A special prosecutor appointed last month to review complaints against the two men and others had found indications of criminal conduct related to their meetings, according to the watchdog overseeing the Attorney General’s Office.

“This concerns abuse of public office, breach of official secrecy, assisting offenders and incitement to these acts,” the AB-BA watchdog said in a statement.

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Both Lauber and Infantino have denied wrongdoing. FIFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Infantino was elected in 2016 to replace disgraced Sepp Blatter, who also become the subject of criminal proceedings in 2015.

Blatter, suspected of criminal mismanagement, was banned by FIFA’s own ethics committee although the investigations against him are still ongoing and he has not been charged. He denies wrongdoing.

On being elected, Infantino promised to clean up FIFA and to put the focus back on football.

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FIFA was embroiled in the worst corruption scandal in its history in 2015 which led to several officials being indicted in the United States on corruption-related charges.

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 Aug. 31.

The AB-BA watchdog said special prosecutor Stefan Keller had now opened proceedings against both Infantino and a regional public prosecutor who was involved in the meetings, and was seeking parliamentary approval to have Lauber’s immunity from prosecution waived.

first published:July 30, 2020, 19:27 IST