Criminal investigation opened against Fifa president

Prosecutors in Switzerland have opened a criminal investigation against Fifa president Gianni Infantino concerning an alleged secret meeting with Swiss attorney general Michael Lauber.

Mr Infantino became FIFA president in 2016 after beating Sheikh Salman in an official ballot. He replaced Sepp Blatter, who resigned a year earlier over corruption allegations.

A Swiss court concluded that Mr Lauber covered up a meeting with Mr Infantino and lied to supervisors while his office probed corruption surrounding FIFA.

A special prosecutor has now been appointed to investigate dealings between the Swiss Attorney General and the head of world football after prosecutors had found indications of criminal conduct related to the meetings.

Both parties have denied any wrongdoing. Mr Infantino has stated he is not stepping down from his role while the matter is dealt with. However, Mr Lauber did offer his resignation after the decision from the court.

The Fifa president claims the meetings with Lauber were broadly to discuss the fact that the attorney general’s office was investigating a series of criminal allegations in which Fifa was a damaged party.

In his letter to the Governing body’s member associations, Infantino writes: “Some anonymous complaints were filed against me in the canton of Bern.

“Not knowing the content of those anonymous complaints, we can only speculate as to why they were filed and who is behind them. Hopefully, the facts will emerge one day.

“I also remain at your disposal for any clarification or further information that you might need, as this is also about our organisation, your organisation, the one that we all represent and must defend.

“The mere fact of meeting a state prosecutor ought to be the best guarantee that any such meeting is legitimate.

“If there were even the slightest suggestion of any wrongdoing, a prosecutor would and should intervene immediately to prevent it, as part of his or her basic legal and professional responsibility.”

Mr Infantino was this week cleared violating the world governing body’s regulations after a preliminary investigation by its ethics committee.

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Mohit Pasricha

Mohit Pasricha

Solicitor at Mackrell.Solicitors
Mohit is a solicitor and Head of Sports Law at Mackrell.Solicitors, advising and representing clients within the sports sector by providing specialist advice on a wide range of commercial, corporate and intellectual property matters. His clients include clubs, commercial sponsors, sports agents, and individual sporting professionals.