Sport  |  Football  

Swiss lift immunity on ex-legal chief probing FIFA corruption

By AFP |   24 August 2020   |   3:09 pm  

FILE PHOTO: Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber arrives before an interview by the Judicial Committee of the Swiss Parliament that could lead to his impeachment, after criticism of his handling of an investigation into alleged corruption surrounding football’s governing body FIFA, in Bern, Switzerland May 20, 2020. REUTERS/ARND WIEGMANN/FILE PHOTO

Switzerland’s Parliament on Monday lifted immunity on the country’s former top prosecutor who had been in charge of the probe into the towering corruption scandal within FIFA, opening the door for criminal proceedings.

Michael Lauber, who last month resigned from his job, is suspected of collusion with the governing body’s president Gianni Infantino after a series of alleged informal meetings between the pair in 2016 and 2017.

Lauber denies the claim but resigned in July and will officially leave his position on August 31.

The immunity committee of Switzerland’s lower house made the decision by underlining that the facts against Lauber have “a direct relationship with his duties and official activity”.

There was deemed to be an “abuse of authority, the violation of official secrecy, the blocking of criminal action”.

Since July 30 Infantino has been the subject of criminal proceedings and holds no immunity.

In 2019, Swiss authorities decided to open an investigation after national media made claims about meetings between the two in 2017.

Two years ago Football Leaks alleged two original encounters had taken place in 2016.

FIFA has never refuted the meetings and explained they were to show the body was ready to collaborate with the Swiss justice system.

The $150 million bribery scandal that rocked the football world with the arrests of dozens of executives — many of them Latin American — culminated in the downfall of FIFA boss Sepp Blatter.

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