Gianni Infantino, faces charges for his dealings with Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber, Swiss authorities said Thursday, which have opened criminal proceedings against the FIFA president.
Swiss prosecutors have previously found clues of criminal behavior linked to meetings between Gianni Infantino and Michael Lauber.
A special prosecutor was appointed this month to investigate the relationship between the Swiss attorney general and the head of world football.
Lauber resigned last week after a court found he covered up a meeting with Infantino and lied to supervisors while his office investigated corruption surrounding FIFA.
In addition to Infantino, criminal proceedings were launched against the Canton of Valais prosecutor, Rinaldo Arnold. Keller also wants Lauber’s immunity to be lifted so that he can initiate court proceedings against him, according to a statement from the Swiss authorities overseeing the Federal Prosecutor’s Office.
Lauber and Infantino have reportedly met in secret three times in 2016 and 2017. The two have denied any wrongdoing. In April, FIFA called the accusations “deliberately misleading and malicious”.
Infantino, a lawyer by training, took over the governing body of world football in 2016 following the remarkable exit of his Swiss predecessor Sepp Blatter. Blatter resigned over corruption allegations related to payments made to his alleged successor, then UEFA president Michel Platini.
Infantino was tasked with cleaning up the organization, while Lauber was tasked with investigating it. But just over a year after his re-election as FIFA president, the undocumented meetings have put Infantino’s credibility at risk.
“For a long time I didn’t talk about it because it is all absurd,” Infantino told reporters at the FIFA Council meeting in June.
“Let me clarify once and for all. Meeting the Chief Prosecutor of Switzerland is perfectly legitimate and perfectly legal. It is not a violation of anything. On the contrary, it is also part of the fiduciary obligations of the President of FIFA, ”he added.
The meetings were said to have taken place as the Federal Prosecutor’s Office was actively investigating FIFA regarding, among other things, the award of the 2018 World Cup to Russia and 2022 to Qatar.
“It is quite legitimate [that FIFA] offers to contribute […] in the hope that those who have committed criminal acts will be held to account,” continued Infantino.