Swiss close ranks. Lauber and Infantino’s secret meetings to remain secret

August 13 – Swiss prosecutors are set to close the investigation of the former attorney general Michael Lauber’s secret meetings with FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

The Swiss media and the Associated Press report that Lauber has been notified of the two special prosecutors’ intention to close their investigation.

Infantino was under investigation for “incitement to abuse of authority, violation of official secrecy and obstruction of criminal proceedings” for his secret meetings in 2016 and 2017 with Lauber, who was under investigation for possible abuse of public office.

Infantino always maintained his innocence, claiming that he can neither remember the meetings nor what was said at the time. In a statement to the AP, FIFA said the “intended dismissal of this case is no surprise.”

FIFA added that Infantino “will speak about this matter only after the tournament has ended and when prosecutors have officially communicated their decision.”

Infantino and Lauber both claimed from the beginning of the inverstigations that they could not remember what was said in the meetings, which were revealed in the Football Leaks reports.

The Neue Zürcher Zeitung also reported that Qatar had spied on the 2017 meeting between Infantino and Lauber in Switzerland. The Swiss newspaper reported that Qatar’s ‘Project Matterhorn’ was carried out to wiretap the FIFA boss and Lauber at Bern’s Schweizerhof, a Qatari-owned hotel that also housed the Gulf nation’s embassy.

The target of the operation was Lauber, who was investigating corruption in the game linked to World Cup bidding.

The investigation led to Lauber’s downfall as Switzerland’s attorney general in 2020.

The first Swiss prosecutor to investigate the case, Stefan Keller was removed by a federal court after Infantino and FIFA accused him of bias.

In January, the latest string of special prosecutors Hans Maurer and Ulrich Weder questioned Infantino after he returned from the 2022 World Cup.

FIFA had previously said that “both FIFA and the FIFA president are fully available to cooperate with the authorities, whether that concerns meetings that the FIFA president had with the former Attorney General of Switzerland, or anything else.”

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