Zurich: FIFA chief Gianni Infantino has said that he remains at the disposal of the Swiss authorities and will cooperate fully with investigation after a criminal case has been initiated by a Swiss Special Federal Public Prosecutor over Infantino’s dealings with Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber.
Authorities in Switzerland said on Thursday that prosecutors have found indications of criminal conduct in relation to the meetings between Infantino and Lauber.
Last week, a court had found that Lauber, while investigating corruption cases related to FIFA, had tried to hide a meeting with Infantino and lied to his supervisors in the Swiss judiciary. He subsequently offered his resignation and is set to leave the post in August.
“People remember well where FIFA was as an institution back in 2015, and how substantial judicial intervention was actually required to help restore the credibility of the organisation,” said Infantino in a statement available on the official FIFA website.
“As President of FIFA, it has been my aim from day one, and it remains my aim, to assist the authorities with investigating past wrongdoings at FIFA. FIFA officials have met with prosecutors in other jurisdictions across the world for exactly these purposes.
“People have been convicted and sentenced, thanks to FIFA’s cooperation, and especially in the United States of America, where our cooperation has resulted in over 40 criminal convictions. Therefore, I remain fully supportive of the judicial process, and FIFA remains willing to fully cooperate with the Swiss authorities for these purposes,” he added.
Infantino had earlier denied any wrongdoing. “For a long time I have not spoken about this because the whole thing is absurd,” he had told reporters at the FIFA Council Meeting in June.
“Let me clarify once and for all. To meet the chief prosecutor of Switzerland is perfectly legitimate and perfectly legal. It’s no violation of anything. On the contrary, it’s also part of the fiduciary duties of the President of FIFA.
“It’s totally legitimate (for FIFA) to offer to contribute… hoping that those who have done criminal acts will be held to account.
“What bothers me a bit is the wording about secret meetings. There is nothing secret in meeting a prosecutor in a civilised country. We are happy to be cooperating with the Swiss authorities as we do with authorities all the world,” he added.