By Andrew Warshaw
May 14 – The fate of Switzerland’s attorney general Michael Lauber will go some way to being decided next week after he was summoned to appear before the Swiss judiciary on May 20 to defend his handling of an official investigation into alleged FIFA-related corruption as well as undocumented meetings with FIFA president Gianni Infantino.
Lauber ran the Swiss side of operations into the FIFAgate scandal before being accused of bungling the fraud trial over payments linked to the 2006 World Cup in Germany when a five-year statute of limitations to secure convictions against three former powerbrokers of the German Football Association and a Swiss former FIFA number two expired on April 28.
Lawmakers now want to know whether Lauber broke rules or was grossly negligent – and whether there was any collusion between Lauber and Infantino. If they not satisfied with his explanations, impeachment proceedings will most likely be opened.
A judicial committee statement said it had “decided to hear Attorney General Michel Lauber at its next meeting [on May 20],”
“It will then decide whether to open impeachment proceedings against him.”
In March Lauber, who has denied any wrongdoing, was sanctioned for disloyalty, lying and breaching his office’s code of conduct. He also had his pay cut for a year after a watchdog group found he repeatedly told falsehoods and broke a prosecutors’ code of conduct.
Lauber appealed against that decision, accusing the watchdog of having made several procedural errors, exceeding its powers and “being biased”.
FIFA has never denied the meetings between Infantino and Lauber, saying they were intended to show that FIFA was “ready to cooperate with the Swiss justice system.” But the circumstances under which the meetings took place raised the question of potential collusion.
If the judicial committee agrees to go ahead with impeachment proceedings, this must be validated by a vote of both Swiss chambers of parliament – the House of Representatives and the Senate – in a joint session.
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