BERN: A disciplinary investigation into Attorney General Michael Lauber has reportedly been recommended by Swiss authorities over his private meetings with FIFA president Gianni Infanino writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The report was broadcast by SRF after a legal bodies’ supervisory board grew concerned about connections between Infantino, Lauber and a former senior attorney in the Valais canton.

The Swiss authorities had shown initial interest in FIFA in November 2014 after the conclusion of its own inquiry into the award of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Six months later it readily co-operated in the extradition to the United States and Uruguay of the seven senior football executives seized on the eve of FIFA Congress.

Lauber told the media that a raid on FIFA offices had yielded nine terabytes of electronic information and “the prosecution is ongoing and will take time.”|However, four years later probably the most high-profile investigation in Swiss criminal history has seen no charges laid.


Criminal investigations were launched subsequently by Lauber’s office into the activities of the then FIFA president Sepp Blatter, into his then secretary-general Jerome Valcke and – much later – into allegations against Qatari TV executive Nasser Al-Khelaifi.

The latter also happens to be president of French champions Paris Saint-Germain (and subsequently became a member of the executive committee of European governing body UEFA).

The wide-ranging international inquiries have also delved into financial wrangling behind the awarding of the 2006 World Cup finals to Germany.

Lauber had said, back in June 2015: “The world of football needs to be patient. By its nature, this investigation will take more than the legendary 90 minutes.”

But after four years and no charges it is now Lauber himself who is facing questions over his relationship with Infantino, Blatter’s successor as FIFA president. The timing of public, political and media focus is delicate because Lauber is standing for re-election by the parliamentary authorities in June.

Last year’s Football Leaks revelations showed that Lauber had held two meetings with Infantino. These had been confidential until then. Lauber’s office later described them as courtesy briefings on the state of an investigation in which FIFA holds victim status.

Later it emerged that the first meeting had been arranged through an old friend of Infantino, the senior attorney of his ‘home’ Upper Valais province, Rinaldo Arnold. The furore led to Arnold being cleared of malpractice but still being replaced. He was compromised irredeemably by having accepted the gift of World Cup tickets from his old friend Infantino.

The problems for Lauber have been exacerbated by reports of a third confidential meeting with Infantino in June 2017 at the Schweizerhof in Bern.

FIFA has said that Infantino had no recollection of such a meeting while Lauber, initially, said the same.

Later, Lauber conceded in a radio interview that there must have been a third meeting even though he could still not recall it. He said: “I reject accusations of lying or keeping silent and I see no reason to withdraw my candidacy for re-election.”

This confusion prompted the latest inquiry into Lauober’s conduct.