Tue | Aug 4, 2020

Criminal case opened against FIFA president Gianni Infantino

Published:Thursday | July 30, 2020 | 9:11 AM
In this Monday, Sept. 9, 2019 file photo, FIFA president Gianni Infantino speaks to members of the media on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, file)

GENEVA (AP) — A criminal case against FIFA president Gianni Infantino was opened Thursday by a Swiss special prosecutor, plunging world soccer’s governing body in a new scandal.

Special prosecutor Stefan Keller has concluded there is enough evidence to take the case to court after investigating the circumstances of a meeting Infantino had with Swiss attorney general Michael Lauber, who offered his resignation last week.

Keller has uncovered “elements that make up reprehensible behaviour,” according to a statement from the Swiss authority overseeing the federal prosecutors office.

Keller opened a criminal case against Infantino as well as Valais prosecutor Rinaldo Arnold, and has sought authorisation to open a legal case against Lauber, too, according to a statement from the Swiss authority.

Keller, a legal expert named to the post of special prosecutor on June 29, found possible infractions included abuse of public office, breach of official secrecy, “assisting offenders” and “incitement to these acts,” the supervisory authority for the office of the attorney general said in its statement, adding other criminal acts and proceedings could also be considered.

Suspects in such cases benefit from a presumption of innocence in Switzerland until legal proceedings are completed.

FIFA declined to comment but Infantino said last month “this whole thing is quite absurd.”

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