Switzerland has launched criminal proceedings against FIFA President Gianni Infantino.
The FIFA boss has been accused of secret meetings with Switzerland’s Attorney General Michael Lauber. The faces charges of “criminal conduct” in relation to their secret meetings.
A special prosecutor was appointed earlier month to investigate dealings between Lauber and Infantino.
Special Prosecutor Stefan Keller had discovered indications of criminal conduct during the meetings between the Swiss Attorney General and the FIFA Boss. AB-BA, the authority that oversees the Swiss Federal prosecutors, has stated that Keller had sought permission to initiate criminal proceedings against the duo.
“This concerns abuse of public office, breach of official secrecy, assisting offenders and incitement to these acts,” AB-BA said in a statement.
Both Infantino and Lauber have both pleaded not guilty. FIFA had dismissed the accusations in April as “deliberately misleading and malicious”.
Infantino, a professional lawyer, had stepped into the FIFA president’s position with a mandate to clean up the football governing body after his predecessor Sepp Blatter’s unceremonious exit amidst corruption charges.
Now the investigation into his secret meetings with Lauber will also dent Infantino’s credibility.
Meanwhile, Infantino in a statement released today (Thursday) has insisted that his meeting with Lauber were “perfectly legitimate and it’s perfectly legal”. FIFA also said it would cooperate fully with the investigation.
“As President of FIFA, it has been my aim from day one, and it remains my aim, to assist the authorities with investigating past wrongdoings at FIFA,” Infantino said.
“FIFA officials have met with prosecutors in other jurisdictions across the world for exactly these purposes. People have been convicted and sentenced, thanks to FIFA’s cooperation, and especially in the United States of America, where our cooperation has resulted in over 40 criminal convictions.
“Therefore, I remain fully supportive of the judicial process, and FIFA remains willing to fully cooperate with the Swiss authorities for these purposes.”