Swiss investigation of meetings between attorney general, FIFA's Infantino set to be closed down
GENEVA (AP) — Special prosecutors in Switzerland are closing a years-long probe of the former attorney general who had undisclosed meetings with FIFA president Gianni Infantino during a sweeping investigation of international soccer.
Swiss media reported Friday that Michael Lauber, who lost his job as the top Swiss federal prosecutor in the fallout from the Infantino meetings, was notified of the two special prosecutors’ intention to close their investigation.
A lawyer for Lauber, Lorenz Erni, confirmed to The Associated Press in an email message he was told the case is being shut down.
Special prosecutors Ulrich Weder and Hans Maurer did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
FIFA said in a statement the “intended dismissal of this case is no surprise,” about three years after Infantino was put under suspicion by a previous special prosecutor appointed by Swiss lawmakers to first handle the investigation.
Infantino is at the Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand for one more week and “will speak about this matter only after the tournament has ended and when prosecutors have officially communicated their decision,” FIFA said.
Lauber was under investigation for possible abuse of public office and Infantino was implicated in inciting him in a case provoked by complaints from Swiss residents who were not identified.
Lauber and Infantino had two undocumented meetings in 2016, soon after the FIFA president was elected, during a Swiss investigation into international soccer business. It ran parallel with a sweeping case run by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Both men consistently claimed they did not recall details of the meetings which were revealed in the Football Leaks series published by German magazine Der Spiegel.
Months later, further media reports revealed a third meeting had been held in June 2017 in a Bern hotel. They again both said they did not recall details of what was discussed.
Lauber was ousted as Switzerland’s attorney general in 2020 after being found to have misled and obstructed an oversight office monitoring federal prosecutors.
The first special prosecutor, Stefan Keller, was later removed by a federal court after Infantino formally complained of bias.
Weder and Maurer took over the case and questioned Infantino in January after his return to Switzerland from the World Cup in Qatar.
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