ZURICH (Reuters) – Global football governing body FIFA failed to gain access to the case files compiled by the special prosecutor appointed last year to tackle investigations into president Gianni Infantino and his relationship with the former Swiss attorney general.
Special prosecutor Stefan Keller in July opened criminal proceedings over an undocumented meeting convened by Infantino and former chief prosecutor Michael Lauber, while Lauber’s office investigated allegations of corruption in world football.
Infantino and Lauber, who have since stepped down, denied wrongdoing. FIFA’s ethics committee acquitted Infantino in August of any code violations.
In a ruling released on Tuesday, the Federal Criminal Court rejected FIFA’s request for access to the files under investigation because a third party was directly involved in the proceedings.
FIFA, which complained that opening a criminal case against its president had damaged his reputation, argued that Keller was not authorized to initiate the process and appealed against his decision to reject FIFA’s offer to view the case files.
In a statement, FIFA said Keller had given the “misleading impression that something illegal or undesirable may have happened when the FIFA President met with the former Swiss Attorney General. Such suggestions or implications are completely rejected. “
It said neither FIFA nor Infantino had been informed of the alleged wrongdoing and the FIFA president was not given the opportunity to respond.
“FIFA and the FIFA President, of course, will continue to cooperate in this investigation, assuming they have been given the opportunity to do so,” he added.
Infantino was selected in 2016 to clean up FIFA after being implicated in a corruption scandal.
Reporting by Michael Shields; Edited by Ken Ferris