Conor Breslin
Conor Breslin

17.30 30 Jul 2020


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Switzerland’s special federal public prosecutor has launched criminal proceedings against FIFA president Gianni Infantino over alleged abuse of power in public office.

The proceedings follow an investigation into complaints regarding meetings between Infantino and Swiss attorney general Michael Lauber.

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

The statement added, “This concerns abuse of public office, breach of official secrecy, assisting offenders 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 Swiss parliamentary committees to open criminal proceedings against Lauber.

The chief public prosecutor of the Upper Valais, Rinaldo Arnold, was also said to have attended these meetings alongside Infantino and Lauber.

"The presumption of innocence applies to attorney general Michael Lauber, FIFA president Gianni Infantino and chief public prosecutor Rinaldo Arnold," the statement read.

Lauber offered to resign last week after the court concluded he covered up a meeting with Infantino and lied to supervisors while his office probed corruption surrounding FIFA.

Lauber and Infantino met twice in 2016, the year Infantino was elected FIFA president. Both the accused have previously denied any wrongdoing in their work.

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,” the FIFA president said.

Infantino replaced former disgraced president Sepp Blatter, who resigned a year earlier over corruption allegations.

At the time of Blatter’s corruption allegations, Infantino said, "We will restore the image and the respect of FIFA and everyone in the world will applaud us.

"We are finally going to ensure that we can once again focus on the beautiful game of football."


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