Pinned by Swiss justice with the opening of criminal proceedings against him, Gianni Infantino finally speaks about the accusations he is the subject of. The FIFA president says he has “nothing to hide”.
Gianni Infantino says he hopes that “facts will emerge” around “anonymous complaints” filed against him which have led to a criminal investigation.
Swiss prosecutors last week opened proceedings against Infantino for an alleged secret meeting with Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber.
In a letter to member associations of the football governing body, Infantino said any meeting was “by no means secret and certainly not illegal” .
Indeed, Lauber and Infantino would have met in secret three times in 2016 and 2017. The two men have denied any wrongdoing. In April, FIFA called the accusations “deliberately misleading and malicious”.
However, the 50-year-old Swiss admitted that the investigation had already “caused considerable damage to Fifa as an organization and to me as president”.
Gianni Infantino has written to @FIFAcom member associations following the opening of criminal investigation against him. He says he hopes "the facts emerge" around who lodged the anonymous complaints which sparked the probe. pic.twitter.com/zKJ5DT9Gx7
— Jamie Gardner (@PAJamieGardner) August 7, 2020
Infantino is not resigning from his role as president while the case is being dealt with. “Some anonymous complaints have been lodged against me in the canton of Bern. Not knowing the content of these anonymous complaints, we can only speculate as to why they were made and who is behind them. Hopefully the facts will emerge one day, ” he wrote.
Infantino assures that the meetings with Lauber were broadly aimed at discussing the fact that the attorney general’s office was investigating a series of criminal allegations in which Fifa was an aggrieved party.
“I obviously also remain at your disposal for any clarification or additional information you may need, because it is also about our organization, your organization, the one we represent and must all defend,” said Infantino, who added that he had received numerous messages of support since the announcement of the investigation.
“If there was the slightest suggestion of wrongdoing, a prosecutor would step in and immediately step in to prevent it, as part of his fundamental legal and professional responsibility ,” he said.
Neither Lauber nor Infantino could recall specific details of their last meeting in 2017.