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Law and order  Controversial Swiss attorney general wins re-election

Attorney general Lauber and several microphones

Lauber (centre) looks visibly marked by the weeks of controversy ahead of his re-election by parliament on Wednesday. 

(Keystone/Peter Schneider)

Parliament has re-elected the attorney general, Michael Lauber, amid months of controversy over his handling of an investigation into corruption in world football. 

Lauber won 129 of the 243 votes of the House of Representatives and the Senate on Wednesday despite recommendations by a key parliamentary committee not to re-elect him for a third four-year term. 

His supporters argued that a re-election would undermine the authority of the attorney general, while others called for a reform of the office. 

However, opponents of Lauber believe that a scandal surrounding undocumented meetings with FIFA President Gianni Infantino puts at risk his credibility and ability to act. Lauber held at least three confidential meetings with Infantino while the prosecutor’s office was carrying out an ongoing five-year investigation into the Zurich-based world football governing body, FIFA. 

Lauber himself has defended his handling of the case. 

High-profile position 

The move comes after weeks of discussions over Lauber’s violation of procedural rules in a major ongoing investigation into FIFA. 

Lauber was also embroiled in a dispute with the watchdog authority of the federal prosecutor’s office and disciplinary proceedings. 

Parliament had put off the election for three months for further hearings and probes by parliamentary committees and political parties. 

The Swiss attorney generalexternal link prosecutes criminal offences involving major cases of white-collar crime, including corruption, money laundering as well as espionage. However, the prosecutors in the 26 cantons handle the bulk of the other criminal cases. 

Lauber was first elected in 2011 following the ousting and resignation respectively of two of his predecessors over the past 20 years. Following a reform of the election procedure nine years ago, parliament took over from the government as electoral body of the high-profile position.

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