Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber says he plans to run for a new four-year mandate in 2019. He said he did nothing wrong in meeting twice in 2016 with FIFA president Gianni Infantino, whose organization is under investigation by Lauber’s office for corruption.
The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) is under pressure since so-called “Football Leaksexternal link” revelations of secret meetings between Lauber and FIFA president Infantino, one year after a vast corruption scandal within the world football body led to the resignation of its former president Sepp Blatter.
Lauber said on Wednesday that his two meetings with Infantino in March and April 2016 were needed to clarify issues linked to 25 FIFA investigations being carried out by his office.
Giving more detail about their meetings, Lauber said his office had been contacted by the prosecutor of canton Valais, Rinaldo Arnold, on behalf of FIFA because Infantino, after becoming FIFA boss in February 2016, wanted a meeting with the OAG. Arnold is currently under investigation in relation to his links with Infantino and the Football Leaks allegations.
Among the people accompanying Lauber to the meetings was Olivier Thormann, head of the OAG’s white collar crime unit, who was recently himself investigated for alleged misconduct in relation to the FIFA investigations. Thormann was cleared, but it was then announced he would be leaving the OAG anyway.
The OAG opened a first criminal investigation linked to FIFA in 2015. There are now 25 investigations under way involving 15 countries and a mountain of documentation.
Lauber told the press that he considers the meetings with Infantino to be part of his work, and that he is developing new strategies to bring the cases to conclusion. The OAG’s aim is to produce the first results of the investigations in 2019.
He said he feels justified continuing in his post, which he has held since 2012, and that he intends to run again as Attorney General for 2020-2023.