KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: Despite all FIFA’s protestations of the innocence of president Gianni Infantino, the saga of his ‘forgotten’ meetings with departing Attorney-General Michael Lauber refuses to go away.
A Swiss parliamentary committee has decided to waive Lauber’s immunity, paving the way for special prosecutor Stefan Keller to open criminal proceedings against him over his handling of high-profile cases concerning the world football federation.
The Swiss justice system came under attack, over the weekend, from the German Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung which described it as being akin to that of a “banana republic” and “unworthy of a democracy.”
The immunity committee of Switzerland’s lower house, in a statement, said: “Attorney General Michael Lauber is being suspected of abuse of office, violating confidentiality and favouritism by holding several non-recorded meetings with FIFA president Gianni Infantino, Public Prosecutor Rinaldo Arnold and other people.
“The committee points out that lifting the immunity is necessary in order to gain the greatest possible transparency about these meetings in a criminal investigation.”
Lauber offered to resign last month, with his last day of active duty set for August 31, after a court concluded he had covered up a meeting with Infantino and lied to supervisors while his office investigated corruption surrounding FIFA.
Special prosecutor Stefan Keller, who was appointed to review criminal complaints against Infantino and Lauber, opened criminal proceedings against Infantino and regional prosecutor Arnold last month and had asked parliament to have Lauber’s immunity waived.
Infantino has described the process as “absurd” and has been cleared of any wrongdoing by the FIFA ethics committee even though mystery shrouds the precise basis for Keller’s decision to progress an investigation.