FIFA President Gianni Infantino allegedly interfered in an investigation by Switzerland’s attorney general into his awarding of a television rights contract to an offshore company when he worked at UEFA, a Swiss newspaper has reported.
The Tribune de Geneve claimed Infantino intervened with Michael Lauber in an effort to get the investigation, launched soon after he was elected FIFA President, dropped in 2016.
The newspaper reported Infantino had expressed concern about the probe and wrote to Rinaldo Arnold, who had become a senior prosecutor in Switzerland’s Haut-Valais region.
“I will try to explain to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) that it is in my interests that everything should be cleared up as soon as possible, that it be clearly stated that I have nothing to do with this matter,” the FIFA President wrote in the email cited by the newspaper.
Arnold had helped arrange a first meeting between Infantino and Lauber in 2016 and the Tribune de Geneve said a second took place on April 22, which the OAG reportedly refuses to speak about and which remains a “mystery”.
The investigation into the television rights Infantino awarded when legal affairs director at UEFA was closed following a third meeting between Lauber and Infantino in 2017.
In a statement sent to Agence France-Presse, FIFA said the “email referred to in the article was obviously obtained by hacking, which is an illegal and criminal act”.
“Not only Mr Infantino had no reason to lie in that email, the email never said Mr Infantino wanted to ‘clear his name,'” FIFA said.
FIFA has always denied any suggestion of wrongdoing regarding Infantino’s meetings with Lauber, who led the Swiss investigation into world football’s governing body and was recently sanctioned for disloyalty, lying and breaching his office’s code of conduct.
The organisation claims the meetings were designed to show how FIFA and Infantino were willing to cooperate with the OAG.