June 17 – A key ally of FIFA president Gianni Infantino is reported to be the subject of a fourth criminal complaint to the Swiss authorities involving secret undocumented meetings between the FIFA president and under-fire attorney-general Michael Lauber.
Last week Swiss parliamentarians called for a special investigator to be appointed to examine whether three complaints Lauber were worthy of a full investigation.
All three reportedly related to the much-publicised informal meetings between Lauber and Infantino, two of them apparently submitted by an unnamed lawyer and the third from anonymous sources.
Lawmakers recently voted to launch impeachment proceedings against Lauber who has denied any wrongdoing but in March 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.
Infantino has not been accused of any wrongdoing and FIFA has described as a “farce” the very notion that a complaint could be made against someone for simply meeting a prosecutor.
But now, according to the German newspaper Suddeutschee Zeitiung, a fourth criminal complaint has been launched, this time against local Valais public prosecutor Rinaldo Arnold, a personal friend of Infantino who comes from the same region of Switzerland.
Arnold has long been cited as the facilitator of at least one of the meetings between Lauber and Infantino and could potentially be suspected of having broken the law, according to Swiss social democrat politician Gilbert Truffer.
Arnold is reported as having first spoken to Lauber about the meetings in July 2015 when Infantino was still UEFA general secretary – eight months before he landed the FIFA presidency. The inference is that Infantino wanted to find out if he was the target of any corruption probe as he prepared to launch his campaign to take over from Sepp Blatter.
Crucially, the opening of criminal proceedings could have serious consequences for Infantino. If a special prosecutor is installed, the FIFA Ethics Committee would have no other option than to suspend Infantino, temporarily at least, according to its own statutes.
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