Swiss court rules against prosecutor in FIFA case

March 12, 2021

FILE – In this Tuesday March 3, 2020 file photo, FIFA President Gianni Infantino addresses a meeting of European soccer leaders at the congress of the UEFA governing body in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The election to lead African soccer is seeming to be dominated by FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who supports South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe to win the top job in a ballot next week. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)

By Associated Press

ZURICH (AP) — A Swiss court ruled that a special prosecutor investigating Switzerland’s former attorney general acted illegally while pursuing a separate case against FIFA president Gianni Infantino, soccer’s governing body said Thursday.

Prosecutor Stefan Keller said in December that Infantino should face a criminal investigation for disloyal management by using a FIFA-booked private jet from Suriname to Geneva in 2017. Infantino had visited soccer federations in the Caribbean.

“Now it is clear that this unfounded and defamatory statement was made on the basis of an investigative act which was itself illegal, null and void,” FIFA said.

In a statement, Keller’s office said the Swiss federal criminal court ruled he did not have the authority to conduct an interview in November with someone close to Infantino about the use of the jet. The transcript of the interview will be removed from any investigation.

Keller was appointed by lawmakers last year to examine formal complaints by Swiss citizens against former attorney general Michael Lauber and Infantino. They had undisclosed meetings in 2016 and 2017 while Lauber led an investigation of international soccer officials.

Lauber was ousted last year.

FIFA’s ethics committee closed its own examination of the private flight last August after a formal complaint had been filed.

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