FIFA President Gianni Infantino has launched a criminal investigation into his use of a private jet

Spread the love

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has been cleared by Swiss prosecutors of any wrongdoing in connection with his use of a private jet in 2017.

Infantino chartered a flight from Suriname to Switzerland and prosecutor Stefan Keller then called for criminal investigations, which have now been dropped.

FIFA’s Ethics Committee dropped its own investigation into the use of the jet back in August 2020 “the apparent lack of prima facie evidence of an alleged violation of the FIFA code of ethics” – and now criminal proceedings in Switzerland have also been put on hold.

“FIFA welcomes the decision of the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (BA) to drop the investigation into FIFA President Gianni Infantino in connection with the chartering of a private jet to fly from Suriname to Switzerland in 2017,” it said in a statement of FIFA.

“It was confirmed that the travel arrangements made by FIFA’s Office of the President and Travel Department were in full compliance with FIFA’s compliance rules and regulations – a decision consistent with the August 2020 decision of the FIFA Ethics Committee in this case. In addition, the BA has recognized that the manner in which it was communicated in relation to these travel arrangements at the time was fully justified.’

Swiss prosecutors have dropped a criminal investigation into FIFA President Gianni Infantino's use of a private jet in 2017 to fly between Suriname and Switzerland

Swiss prosecutors have dropped a criminal investigation into FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s use of a private jet in 2017 to fly between Suriname and Switzerland

Although Infantino is entitled to substantial compensation, he has waived his right to damages and is simply leaving all legal costs of the case to the Swiss state.

The statement concludes: “Since the beginning of the proceedings, the FIFA President has remained fully available to the Swiss authorities and remains confident that the judicial system will continue to recognize that the current FIFA administration has turned the page of the past and is now established as credible and respected organization.”

A case against the FIFA president originally surfaced when prosecutors were investigating Infantino’s meetings with former Switzerland Attorney General Michael Lauber.

Both men flatly denied any wrongdoing at those meetings, and Infantino later explained that he routinely met with prosecutors from around the world to discuss ongoing criminal cases in which FIFA was placed in victim status for alleged corrupt activities ahead of his presidential election 2016

Infantino, who replaced Sepp Blatter as FIFA President in 2016, then saw a 2017 flight from Suriname to Geneva being scrutinized by Keller, which angered Infantino and the governing body.

Regarding the use of the private jet, FIFA 2020 said in a forceful reply: “Now, many months after his investigation and having found exactly nothing problematic about those meetings with the former federal prosecutor, as FIFA always predicted, this would may be the case, and after not even asking to hear the FIFA President since announcing his investigation last July, the “special prosecutor” today issued an official “media release” stating that against the FIFA President should now be investigated for something else!”

Her rebuttal added: “Neither FIFA nor its President have ever been informed of these new false allegations and therefore cannot comment on them, which is likely the intention of the ‘Special Prosecutor’.

Infantino has consistently denied wrongdoing and was acquitted by FIFA's Ethics Committee in 2020

Infantino has consistently denied wrongdoing and was acquitted by FIFA’s Ethics Committee in 2020

“The method of the ‘special prosecutor’ Stefan Keller, by publishing media releases to accuse and defame without justification, borders on character assassination and is strongly rejected by FIFA and its President. FIFA and its President will of course take all necessary legal steps and remedies to put an end to these baseless and malicious allegations.”

In March 2021, following a complaint against Keller, the Swiss Federal Criminal Court sided with FIFA and accused him of having exceeded his original investigative mandate into the meetings with Lauber.

Two months later that same year, Keller was removed from his position as associate federal prosecutor in the Infantino investigation after a court ruled that he could not “guarantee a fair trial.”

The Swiss Federal Supreme Court found that “By attempting to investigate matters unrelated to his mandate and then publicly raising his personal suspicions without objective reason, Mr. Keller clearly violated the presumption of innocence and the reputation of Mr. Keller harmed the FIFA President.’

The police investigation is now complete.

Source link