Federation Internationale de Football Association president facing criminal investigation in Switzerland

Tanya Simon
July 31, 2020

Lauber, who has been Switzerland's attorney general since 2012, tendered his resignation on Friday, only minutes before a Swiss court upheld findings that he had lied about the 2017 meeting with Infantino, which was held as Lauber's office was investigating corruption at Zurich-based Federation Internationale de Football Association.

Lauber last week offered to resign after a court concluded he had covered up a meeting with Infantino and lied to supervisors while his office investigated corruption surrounding soccer's governing body.

The case centres on undocumented meetings that Lauber and Infantino are alleged to have held in 2016 and 2017.

Keller, a regional court judge, uncovered "elements that make up reprehensible behavior, " an oversight panel monitoring federal prosecutors said in a statement. Both of them have denied wrongdoing.

The 50-year-old Infantino was reelected for a second term as president of football's global governing body in June 2019 having run unopposed.

Yet the Swiss-Italian lawyer could be the second Fifa president to be banned from the sport after Blatter, who is now serving a six-year ban from all football-related activities.

Keller found that possible infractions included abuse of public office, breach of official secrecy, "assisting offenders" and "incitement to these acts", the supervisory authority for the office of the attorney general said in its statement, adding other criminal acts and proceedings could also be considered.

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Federation Internationale de Football Association said in a statement that it would cooperate fully while Infantino said that it was "perfectly legitimate and perfectly legal" to meet the Swiss Attorney General. The third meeting took place at a hotel in Bern, Switzerland.

Both Lauber and Infantino claim they can not remember what they discussed.

Keller noted that "the presumption of innocence" applies to Infantino, Lauber and Arnold.

"On the basis of general life experience, such a case of collective amnesia is an aberration, " the federal court ruling said.

Infantino became Federation Internationale de Football Association president in 2016, after his predecessor Sepp Blatter was forced to resign the year before over corruption allegations. In April, FIFA slammed the accusations as "deliberately misleading and malicious".

Michel Platini, the favorite to succeed Blatter and then serving as UEFA president, was also suspended.

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