Qatar suspected of spying on Gianni Infantino and ex-Swiss attorney general Michael Lauber

Qatar suspected of spying on Gianni Infantino and ex-Swiss attorney general Michael Lauber

FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani leave the stage before the 2022 FIFA World Cup draw at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center in Qatar , April 1, 2022.

A few days before his expected re-election (he is the only candidate) at the head of the International Football Federation (FIFA), during the body’s congress on Thursday March 16 in Kigali (Rwanda), Gianni Infantino would have gone well of such a bomb.

Because it is indeed a bomb that dropped, Sunday, March 12, the swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ)while the FIFA President has been the subject of criminal proceedings in Switzerland since July 2020 for “incitement to abuse of authority, breach of official secrecy and obstruction of criminal proceedings » because of his three secret meetings – without minutes –, in 2016 and 2017, with the former Swiss attorney general Michael Lauber, in charge of investigations in connection with FIFA between 2015 and 2019 and resigned in July 2020.

According to NZZwhich relies on anonymous sources and extensive documentation “ official and secret » of which she says to have verified the authenticity, Qatar would have spied on MM. Infantino and Lauber. The two men were allegedly wiretapped during a confidential meeting, which took place on June 16, 2017 in Bern, in a meeting room on the first floor of the Hotel Schweizerhof, where the embassy offices are located. from… Qatar to Switzerland. Place of a previous secret meeting between MM. Lauber and Infantino, in March 2016, the establishment is, moreover, the property of a company linked to a Qatari sovereign fund.

Mr. Infantino initiated this series of meetings with Mr. Lauber; it is a friend of the president of FIFA, the prosecutor of Haut-Valais, Rinaldo Arnold, who organized several of them with André Marty, spokesperson for the public ministry of the Confederation (MPC).

At that time, Mr. Lauber was responsible for the criminal investigations of the MPC in connection with FIFA, in particular that opened against an unknown person, in March 2015, by the Swiss public prosecutor’s office for “unfair management, money laundering through banking relationships in Switzerland”, concerning the awarding, in December 2010, of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. A country which, according to the MPC, has never responded to requests for mutual legal assistance from the Swiss authorities since the start of the investigations.

An alleged roadmap

According to NZZthis espionage operation would have been intended to blackmail Mr. Lauber and to obtain elements “compromising”. Sponsored by Qatar, it would have been carried out by the American intelligence company Global Risk Advisers (GRA), headed by a former CIA executive, Kevin Chalker. The latter would be, according to the Associated Press, in the crosshairs of the FBI.

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