May 13 – With a global pandemic gripping the world, it is turning out to be a seriously unhealthy week for FIFA president Gianni Infantino who, perhaps until recently, held a similarly vice-like grip over world football.
His links with Swiss Attorney general Michael Lauber are coming under even more scrutiny and his former boss Michel Platini has come out in the Swiss press demanding truth, justice and his resignation.
If they weren’t bad enough, former Basel police commander and criminal law expert Markus Mohler has added his opinion to the “is he, isn’t he” Infantino debate.
“There is an urgent suspicion that Mr. Infantino may have committed the offenses to instigate abuse of office, breach of official secrecy and favouritism,” said Mohler.
Interviewed by Switzerland’s Aargauer Zeitung, Mohler said that the multiple media reports and the disciplinary sanctions imposed on Lauber by his own ethics body are enough to warrant opening an investigation into the meetings Infantino arranged, via the Valais public prosecutor Rinaldo Arnold, with Lauber.
“Mr. Infantino’s meetings with the Federal Prosecutor should have remained secret. Therefore, contrary to the mandatory provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, they were not recorded. What was discussed is still “secret” or unclear. It is not in the files contrary to the regulations. This led to a verdict by the Federal Criminal Court, confirmed by the Federal Court, according to which the Federal Prosecutor was biased and had to withdraw from the football proceedings,” said Mohler.
Asked whether the meetings could be deemed an incitement to breach official secrets, an illegal act Infantino would certainly understand as a lawyer, Mohler said: “Without Mr. Infantinos’ wishes to meet the Federal Prosecutor several times via Arnold, these meetings would not have taken place. Since, as the AB-BA also stated, it was about ongoing criminal proceedings and Arnold, as a private person, was present at Infantinos on request, the instigation of the breach of official secrecy – and this itself! – has already taken place.
“… Infantino obviously had an eminent interest in guiding the proceedings in the football context that had been carried out up to that point in a certain direction. Otherwise the meetings would not have been so urgent. And you would also know who was fifth at the fourth meeting in Bern and what it was about. But this is “collective amnesia”. At first, this is highly unbelievable. Also noticeable is the case against the “unknown” proceedings against the UEFA, which the Federal Prosecutor’s Office terminated: It concerned a controversial contract for UEFA’s television rights, which Mr. Infantino had signed. So there is a suspicion that he might have benefited from the federal prosecutor.”
The Bern prosecutor’s office told Aargauer Zeitung: “The actual evidence of a criminal offense required to open a criminal investigation must be substantial and concrete in nature, mere rumors or assumptions are not sufficient.”
However, Mohler’s response was that “there is no longer any question of mere rumors or guesswork. In addition, there is sufficient suspicion “to be assumed … if there are signs of a criminal offense, ie if there is a certain probability of criminal behavior”. This follows from Articles 107 and 300 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. To be read in all scientific comments. It is up to the public prosecutor and, if need be, the courts to determine whether the suspicion is justified, whether an offense has been committed or not. Doing nothing from the outset is not possible.”
He continued: “This is not about the Federal Prosecutor, but about the President of FIFA. The AB-BA is the supervisory authority over the federal prosecutor’s office, not over Mr. Infantino. Therefore, the local public prosecutor is directly responsible for initiating proceedings for the offenses that Mr. Infantino may have committed “with a certain probability”.
During his first FIFA election campaign Infantino travelled the world in a private jet paid for by undeclared benefactors and certainly at a cost above the UEFA contribution to his campaign funds. It went largely unquestioned but became more of a plane spotting game not unlike the children’s books ‘Where’s Wally’. Gianni’s Jet has become a feature of his life as FIFA president. But in these times of global pandemic not even flight is available to him.
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