Football Leaks probe closed against Swiss prosecutor

FIFA President Gianni Infantino (right) and Valais prosecutor Rinaldo Arnold during a friendly football match in Zurich, Switzerland, in 2016 © Keystone / Ennio Leanza

The Valais Attorney General’s Office has closed its investigation into the close ties between Valais prosecutor Rinaldo Arnold and FIFA President Gianni Infantino. 

This content was published on April 12, 2019 - 12:02
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The office said on Friday that it had closed its probe on April 10, which had been opened last November to shed light on claims that Arnold had facilitated contacts between Infantino and the Swiss Attorney General, Michael Lauber.  

The Valais Attorney General’s office said on Friday that their probe had ruled out any suspicions of accepting bribes or passive corruption by Arnold. 

News reportsExternal link by journalists involved in the Football LeaksExternal link investigations claimed that Arnold had received invitations to World Cup matches in Russia in 2018, to a FIFA Congress in Mexico in May 2016 and to the Champions League Final in Milan. 

The Football Leaks investigative team also alleged Arnold helped Infantino arrange secret meetings in 2016 with Lauber, whose office is investigating numerous cases of alleged corruption against FIFA. 

Arnold had denied the charges and Zurich-based FIFA had insisted there had never been any impropriety in its dealings with the Attorney General’s office. Lauber also said he did nothing wrong in meeting twice in 2016 with Infantino.

The Valais Attorney General’s office concluded that the gifts received by Arnold were not intended to influence his work as a prosecutor. 

Lauber’s prosecutors are reportedly leading 25 separate investigations of suspected corruption linked to FIFA and World Cup bidding. , Lauber told reporters that he did not know when the investigations into FIFA would be completed, but suggested they could still take years.  

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