ZURICH, January 12: Global soccer body FIFA has failed in its attempt to disqualify the special prosecutor named last year to handle an investigation into FIFA president Gianni Infantino and his dealings with Switzerland’s former attorney general.
Special prosecutor Stefan Keller in July opened criminal proceedings over undocumented meetings Infantino and former top prosecutor Michael Lauber held while Lauber’s office investigated alleged corruption in world soccer.
Infantino and Lauber, who has since resigned, have denied any wrongdoing. FIFA’s ethics committee cleared Infantino in August of any code breaches.
In a verdict released on Tuesday, the Federal Criminal Court rejected FIFA’s requests to remove Keller from the case and allow FIFA access to files in the investigation as a third party directly involved in the proceedings.
FIFA, which complained that opening a criminal case against its president had damaged its reputation, had argued that Keller was unauthorised to start such proceedings. It also appealed against his decision to deny FIFA’s bid to see case files.
The court ruled that Keller’s appointment was proper and he had not overstepped his authority.
Infantino, elected in 2016 to clean up FIFA after it became embroiled in a corruption scandal, has argued it was perfectly natural for him to meet law enforcement agencies. (Reuters)