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A Swiss special prosecutor has initiated criminal proceedings against Fifa President Gianni Infantino for suspected criminal behavior.
Special Prosecutor Stefan Keller, who has been appointed an “extraordinary prosecutor” to examine complaints against Infantino and Swiss Attorney General Michael Laubner, has found clues of criminal conduct linked to undisclosed meetings, the supervisory authority said on Thursday. Swiss federal prosecutors.
Keller also brought proceedings against Rinaldo Arnold, the Attorney General of Haut-Valais, and sought leave to initiate legal proceedings against Lauber.
The Swiss Federal Council said Thursday that Keller “came to the conclusion that, in the context of the meetings between Attorney General Michael Lauber and FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Attorney General of Upper Valais, there were clues of criminal conduct ”.
The allegations against Infantino and Arnold “concern the abuse of public office, the violation of official secrecy, aiding offenders and inciting these acts,” the statement added.
Keller was appointed last week to examine the relationship between Infantino and Swiss Attorney General Lauber – who offered his resignation last week – in an undisclosed meeting in June 2017. It is alleged that they held three meetings behind closed doors regarding the state of the corruption investigation, in which no notes were taken.
A court concluded last week that Lauber covered up the meeting and lied to his superiors while his office investigated allegations of corruption involving the football’s governing body.
Lauber denied any wrongdoing, but in March he was sanctioned for disloyalty, lying and violating his office’s code of conduct. Lauber also saw his salary cut for a year after a watch group discovered he had repeated lies and violated prosecutors’ code of conduct.
Last month, Lauber faced impeachment proceedings over his handling of the Fifa investigation.
Infantino and Lauber have previously denied any wrongdoing. The Independent has contacted Fifa for comment from Infantino.
Lauber’s office was aware of Keller’s appointment as special prosecutor, but declined to comment.
Arnold, who is from the same region of Switzerland as Infantino and is a personal friend of the FIFA president, has been accused by Swiss social democratic politician Gilbert Truffer of facilitating at least one of the meetings between Infantino and Lauber Arnold reported that he first spoke to the attorney general in July 2015 when Infantino was still UEFA general secretary – eight months before replacing the disgraced Sepp Blatter as FIFA president.
Blatter was forced to resign from his post as director of world football the previous year over corruption allegations and in December 2015 he was banned from all football-related activities for eight years and then reduced to six on appeal.
Speaking in 2016 after being named Blatter’s successor at a Fifa Congress meeting, Infantino said: “I cannot express my feelings at this time. We will restore the image and respect for Fifa and everyone in the world will applaud us.
“We’re finally going to make sure that we can focus on the great game of football again. “
Under the Fifa Ethics Committee’s own statutes, any official facing criminal proceedings must be temporarily suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.