Swiss judicial crisis as former FIFA governance guru Pieth calls for ‘heavyweight’ intervention

By Andrew Warshaw

May 18 – Mark Pieth, the Swiss governance expert first brought in by FIFA to oversee its reform process, has added his voice to those calling for the head of Swiss attorney general Michael Lauber.

Lauber is due to appear before a judicial committee on Wednesday to answer allegations of bungling an official investigation into alleged FIFA-related corruption as well as undocumented meetings with FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

Lawmakers want to know whether Lauber broke rules or was grossly negligent – and whether there was any collusion between Lauber and Infantino. If they are not satisfied with his explanations, impeachment proceedings will most likely be opened.

Pieth, the former chairman of the Independent Governance Committee whose advice was largely ignored by FIFA, says that whether Lauber stands down voluntarily or is impeached, the job must not be given to either of his two deputies because they are too close to him, and that an external interim appointment should instead be made in order to avoid any further suspicions of wrongdoing.

“The management of the federal prosecutor’s office cannot be left to either of Lauber’s deputies,” Pieth, a criminal law professor, was quoted as saying at the weekend.

“In my view, a transitional solution is needed: The Federal Assembly should choose an interim federal attorney. Ideally a heavyweight from a canton, a recently retired, experienced, respected attorney general. This person should take over the management of the federal prosecutor’s office for a fixed year. No longer, but no less long either.”

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