Swiss special federal public prosecutor has officially opened a criminal investigation against FIFA’s president Gianni Infantino. This is following inquiries into meetings he had held with the Swiss attorney general, Micheal Lauber, and another law official Rinaldo Arnold. This is quite surprising as Infantino was brought in to restore FIFA’s tarnished reputation.
In official FIFA communications, it was made public that Infantino will be co-operating with the Swiss authorities following Stefan Keller’s evidence gathering. Keller was barely a month into the job investigating the aforementioned meeting.
Stefan Keller who is a regional court judge, has uncovered “elements that make up reprehensible behavior”. He opened a case against against Infantino and Arnold who were childhood friends and sought authorization to similarly open a case against Lauber.
The possible infractions found include abuse of public office, breach of official secrecy, assisting offenders and incitement to these acts. The panel also claimed that adding other criminal acts and proceedings should also be considered. Under Swiss regulations, the abuse of public office up to 5 years in prison or similar detention facilities. The breach of official secrecy and assisting of offenders can incur up to 3 years per accusations. Every charge also includes the possibility of a financial penalty.
“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.”
To this FIFA responded with a statement dating back to late June: “To meet with the attorney general of Switzerland is perfectly legitimate and it’s perfectly legal. It’s no violation of anything. On the contrary, it is also part of the fiduciary duties of the president of FIFA“. At that period Fantino claimed that these allegations were “quite absurd“.