It is suspected that FIFA President Gianni Infantino intervened with Switzerland’s attorney general to try to get in the way of an investigation, a Swiss newspaper alleged on Monday.
According to the Tribune de Geneve newspaper, Infantino was “worried” about the investigation and wrote to his friend, Rinaldo Arnold, who had become a senior prosecutor in Switzerland’s Haut-Valais region.
The investigation was launched in early 2016 by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) shortly after Infantino was elected President of world football’s governing body.
It was about his awarding of a television rights contract to an offshore company in his previous role as UEFA’s legal affairs director.
“I will try to explain to the 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,” he wrote in an email cited by the newspaper.
Arnold, who had helped to set up a first meeting between Infantino and Attorney General Michael Lauber, replied: “What is important is the meeting in two weeks’ time. If you like, I can come with you again.”
According to the newspaper, the meeting took place on April 22, 2016. It said that what happened during it is “a mystery”, and the OAG “refuses to speak about it”.
The Tribune de Geneve also hinted that between July and September 2016, there were more than 20 calls between Swiss prosecutors and FIFA lawyers.
“Prosecutors have apparently helped FIFA formulate its requests” as a plaintiff so that they could be “accepted by the OAG” — an attitude which “seems incompatible with the OAG’s duty of impartiality”, the daily said.