Swiss probe into FIFA chief Gianni Infantino dropped
Swiss prosecutors announced Thursday they have dropped their three-year criminal proceedings against FIFA president Gianni Infantino over suspected collusion with officials concerning the corruption scandal that engulfed world football's governing body.
Infantino declared a "full and clear victory" in the case and demanded an apology from what he called the "envious and corrupt" people out to tarnish his reputation.
A probe was opened in July 2020 to investigate suspicions of collusion between Infantino and Switzerland's then-attorney general Michael Lauber, the country's top prosecutor.
Lauber was in charge of Switzerland's probe into the towering corruption scandal that exploded at the heart of Zurich-based FIFA in 2015.
But he was forced to recuse himself from the investigation in June 2019, following media revelations that he had held several undeclared meetings with Infantino during the probe.
Two special prosecutors were assigned to the case, but in a statement Thursday, they said the investigation had closed, with the allegations refuted.
"The criminal proceedings ... are discontinued," the statement said.
"The suspicion of instrumentalisation of the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland by FIFA has not been substantiated in the course of the comprehensive investigation.
"On the contrary, the suspicion was refuted."
In a statement, FIFA noted its "extreme satisfaction" with the decision, saying the only surprise was how long it had taken to reach an "obvious conclusion".
"The new FIFA is today a clean, well-run and robust organisation which operates in accordance with the highest ethical and governance standards," it declared.
For his part, Infantino, 53, said it was a "full and clear victory for me, for the new FIFA and for justice".
"It is now clear that the accusations against me were mere attempts by poor, envious and corrupt people to attack my reputation. If these people have some dignity left, they should at least have the decency and apologise for their actions and the damage caused," he said.
"Indeed and with no surprise, the investigation fully and clearly confirms that I have always acted in a lawful and correct way, always defending exclusively the interests of FIFA and football."
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