Swiss justice classifies “partial” criminal proceedings against President Gianni Infantino
The president of the International Football Federation (FIFA), Gianni Infantino, can breathe. A few days before his expected re-election at the FIFA congress – he is the only candidate in the running – on March 16, two Swiss extraordinary prosecutors, Hans Maurer and Ulrich Weder, decided on March 2 to close criminal proceedings. “partial” for “unfair management or even fraud” targeting him. This investigation concerned a private jet flight carried out by Mr. Infantino, in April 2017, between Suriname and Switzerland.
To justify this internal theft, an employee of Mr. Infantino had assured that the latter had to return to Switzerland because of a meeting scheduled in Nyon, on April 12, 2017, with the president of the Union of European Football Associations ( UEFA), Alexander Ceferin. This meeting was followed by another meeting in Geneva. However, that day, Mr. Ceferin was on an official trip to Armenia and could not be in Nyon, as evidenced by the UEFA website and that of the Armenian Football Federation. “The defendant succeeded in demonstrating in an understandable and in any case irrefutable manner that his decision was in accordance with the FIFA regulations on the expenses of senior executives”, explain MM. Weder and Maurer.
“The purpose of this private jet flight was to allow Mr. Infantino to go to an important interview agreed in early April 2017 with [le magistrat grec] Vassilios Skouris in Geneva. Mr. Infantino wanted this meeting to be treated confidentially, also in the interest of his interlocutor, and for him it was a question of obtaining the support of Mr. Skouris so that the latter could occupy an important position within FIFA or its Ethics Committee”, specify the two extraordinary prosecutors. Former President of the Court of Justice of the European Union, Vassilios Skouris was elected in May 2017 as co-chair of the FIFA Ethics Committee.
In August 2020, the FIFA Ethics Committee cleared Mr. Infantino, following a preliminary investigation into “FIFA’s booking of a private flight from Suriname to Geneva”.
“Indicia of criminal activity”
But, in December 2020, magistrate Stefan Keller, predecessor of extraordinary prosecutors Maurer and Weder, had declared “having gathered indications of criminal activity from the FIFA President”. In question: this flight in a private jet on the funds of FIFA.
According to Mr. Keller, whose recusal requested by Mr. Infantino from the Swiss Federal Criminal Court was accepted in April 2021, there was “Clear indications that the President of FIFA has been guilty of criminally reprehensible behavior”.
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