August 25 – The noose is beginning to tighten around the neck of outgoing Swiss attorney general Michael Lauber (pictured) which could potentially have significant consequences for FIFA president Gianni Infantino amid the ongoing saga of those infamous undocumented meetings between the pair.
A Swiss parliamentary committee had decided to waive Lauber’s immunity, the first time this has ever happened, paving the way for special prosecutor Stefan Keller to open criminal proceedings against him, just as he has with Infantino, as he prepares to gather evidence into what actually took place at those meetings and whether to press any charges.
“Attorney General Michael Lauber is being suspected of abuse of office, violating confidentiality and favouritism by holding several non-recorded meetings with FIFA President Gianni Infantino, Public Prosecutor Rinaldo Arnold and other people,” the immunity committee of Switzerland’s lower house said in a statement.
“The committee points out that lifting the immunity is necessary in order to gain the greatest possible transparency about these meetings in a criminal investigation.”
For two weeks FIFA has conducted a relentless public relations operation to support its under-fire president though in recent days has eased off, hardly surprising after FIFA’s own ethics body cleared him of any wrongdoing in the wake of the much-publicised Swiss criminal investigation into his conduct.
FIFA’s ethics committee refused to suspend Infantino by arguing the allegations did not “ justify the adoption of any kind of measure”.
However, the lifting of Lauber’s immunity once again throws the spotlight on to the allegations against Infantino.
The investigation into Infantino, according to a Swiss judiciary press release, “concerns abuse of public office (Article 312 of the Swiss Criminal Code), breach of official secrecy (Article 320 of the Swiss Criminal Code), assisting offenders (Article 305 of the Swiss Criminal Code) and incitement to these acts. Additional criminal acts and the commencement of further proceedings remain reserved,” said the Swiss judiciary’s press release.
Lauber’s last day of duty is set for August 31, with the official affairs of the Attorney General to be temporarily taken over by his two deputies, Ruedi Montanari and Jacques Rayroud.
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