Swiss AG forced off Fifa corruption case after secret meetings

Switzerland’s Attorney General did not document three meetings with Fifa president. (Reuters pic)

GENEVA: Switzerland’s Attorney General was ordered to recuse himself from an investigation looking into corruption at football’s world governing body Fifa.

The attorney general and two deputies violated key procedural rules when they failed to report and document three meetings with Fifa boss Gianni Infantino, the Swiss Federal Criminal Court said Tuesday. They were not named as is normal in such rulings.

Switzerland’s attorney general had been working with his US counterparts on a sweeping probe into corruption in the game ever since a series of dawn raids stunned soccer executives on the eve of a Fifa congress in Zurich in 2015.

The attorney general’s decision, however, to hold two undisclosed meetings with Infantino prompted widespread speculation as to their motivations.

A third meeting with Infantino in 2017 that the attorney general didn’t immediately admit to prompted further concern – and led to an investigation into his behaviour and whether he violated his obligations in the course of his Fifa probe.

A spokesman for the Office of the Attorney General said it’s analysing the decision, declining to comment further.

Former Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke, the subject of a Swiss criminal investigation over the awarding of media rights for future World Cups, demanded the Swiss prosecutors’ recusal in November.

Tuesday’s decision “shall now hopefully contribute to restore the fairness of the investigation,” Valcke’s lawyers, Patrick Hunziker and Elisa Bianchetti, said in an email. Valcke continues to cooperate with the probe against him and “is confident that all charges will eventually be set aside,” they said.