Fifa hits back after call for probe into Infantino

Gianni Infantino is accused of using a private jet to fly between Suriname and Switzerland.
Gianni Infantino is accused of using a private jet to fly between Suriname and Switzerland.

LAUSANNE • A Swiss prosecutor said on Thursday that there were "indications" Fifa president Gianni Infantino was guilty of "unfair management" for using a private jet, funded by football's world body, to fly between Suriname and Switzerland in 2017.

This latest accusation comes after a procedure was opened on July 30 against the Swiss-Italian for "incitement to abuse authority", the "violation of official secrecy" and "obstruction of criminal proceedings".

Special prosecutor Stefan Keller has called for a criminal probe to be launched. His office issued a statement that read: "On the basis of the investigations carried out, Stefan Keller is of the opinion that a criminal investigation must be opened for unfair management."

He is, however, "not competent to open such an investigation" and therefore transmitted his conclusions to the Public Prosecutor's Office (MPC) of Switzerland.

Keller was appointed "extraordinary prosecutor" in early July to investigate suspicions of collusion between Fifa and former MPC chief Michael Lauber.

His investigations related to three secret meetings in 2016 and 2017 between the pair.

Lauber resigned in the summer while Fifa's internal justice system cleared Infantino in mid-August.

The Fifa chief then said it was "absurd" to be implicated for having met a magistrate, insisting he wanted to show Lauber how much the global football governing body had changed since the clouds of corruption which had engulfed his predecessor Sepp Blatter.

Fifa said on Thursday that it was shocked by Keller's statement, claiming it was "both malicious and defamatory in nature, and demonstrates his extreme bias".

"Neither Fifa nor its president (has) ever been informed of these new spurious allegations and they are therefore unable to comment on them, which is probably the intention of the 'special prosecutor'," a statement read.

"Fifa and its president will obviously take all necessary legal steps and remedies to put an end to these baseless and ill-intentioned accusations."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 12, 2020, with the headline 'Fifa hits back after call for probe into Infantino'. Subscribe