Report: FIFA boss Gianni Infantino suspected of interfering in probe
Infantino was elected president of world football's governing body, about his awarding of a TV rights contract to an offshore company in his previous role as UEFA's legal affairs director
FIFA president Gianni Infantino is suspected of having intervened with Switzerland's attorney general to try to get an investigation dropped, a Swiss newspaper alleged on Monday. The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) launched an investigation in 2016, shortly after Infantino was elected president of world football's governing body, about his awarding of a TV rights contract to an offshore company in his previous role as UEFA's legal affairs director.
According to the Tribune de Geneve newspaper, Infantino was worried about this investigation and wrote to his childhood friend, Rinaldo Arnold, who had become a senior prosecutor in Switzerland's Haut-Valais region where they grew up. "I will try to explain to the OAG that it is in my interests that everything should be cleared up as soon as possible, that it be clearly stated that I have nothing to do with this matter," he wrote in an email cited by the newspaper. Arnold, who had helped to set up a first meeting between Infantino and Attorney General Michael Lauber, replied: "What is important is the meeting in two weeks' time. If you like, I can come with you again."
The meeting took place on April 22, 2016, the newspaper said, adding that what happened during it remains a mystery, and the OAG "refuses to speak about it". The OAG declined to comment when contacted by AFP. FIFA said later on Monday "the email referred to in the article was obviously obtained by hacking, which is an illegal and criminal act."
'No reason to lie'
"Not only Mr Infantino had no reason to lie in that email, the email never said Mr Infantino wanted to 'clear his name'," FIFA added. The Zurich-based federation has always indicated that the meetings between Infantino and the OAG were intended to show that FIFA was ready to engage with the Swiss justice system.
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