Infantino to remain Fifa President during legal probe

Giovanni Infantino, president of FIFA, walks between sessions on the opening day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020.

Fifa President Gianni Infantino will continue to work while cooperating with a criminal probe into meetings he had with Switzerland’s top prosecutor during a corruption investigation into world football’s governing body.

A special federal prosecutor, Stefan Keller, is examining the legality of meetings Infantino held with Michael Lauber, whose official title is attorney general. Prosecutors have asked the Swiss government to lift Lauber’s immunity as part of the probe.

Keller has cited “indications of criminal conduct” related to meetings between Lauber, Infantino and a regional Swiss prosecutor during the corruption probe.

Zurich-based Fifa on Sunday described the meetings as legal, saying in a statement that “nothing remotely criminal has happened”.

Fifa and Infantino “categorically deny any implication or suggestion that the FIFA president would ever have attempted to exert any form of improper influence on the Swiss federal prosecutor”, according to the statement.

“Meetings or contacts between parties and prosecutors are routine during an investigation. The purpose was always to offer Fifa’s full support in the investigations.”

Lauber said he will resign after a Swiss court said he’d “knowingly concealed” and made false statements about a meeting with Infantino.

Switzerland’s executive branch, the Federal Council, last week listed possible violations including abuse of public office, breach of official secrecy, and the assisting and inciting of offenders.
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