Swiss investigator quits despite being cleared of FIFA crimes

Allegations about Olivier Thormann were made in September. Keystone

A senior member of the Swiss Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has been cleared of taking bribes whilst handling the criminal investigation of world football’s governing body FIFA.

This content was published on November 16, 2018 - 10:49

But despite being cleared of criminal wrongdoing, Olivier Thormann will still be sacked as head of the OAG’s white collar crime unit.

Thormann had been investigated following a tip-off about alleged misconduct, which was made to his boss Michael Lauber in September. 

Former Zurich public prosecutor Ulrich Weder had been called in to find out if Thormann had committed breaches of official secrecy, had accorded preferential treatment to FIFA or had accepted bribes. 

But Weder found that the there was no criminal case to answer, it was announced on Friday.

However, the OAG confirmed to that Thormann would still be leaving the prosecutor’s office. “Attorney General Michael Lauber and Olivier Thormann have agreed that the latter’s employment contract will be terminated. This step has been taken following joint discussions and a thorough assessment of the situation,” the OAG said in an emailed statement.

“The OAG wishes to thank Olivier Thormann for the work he has done, in particular in successfully establishing the White-Collar Crime Division as a centre of expertise in combating international corruption, money laundering and general white-collar crime.” 

Neither the OAG or Thormann would give further details.

The unit Thormann once headed is responsible for investigating major corporate fraud. In addition to FIFA, the department has looked into corruption cases involving the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB and Brazilian energy company Petrobras.

Zurich-headquartered FIFA was placed under investigation by the OAG in 2015 following allegations of serious corruption. The scandal-plagued governing body of world football has also been probed by other global law enforcement agencies.

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