Swiss higher court upholds prosecutor's withdrawal from soccer corruption investigation

ZURICH: the Swiss superior court rejected the Attorney General Michael Lauber The attempt to join the corruption investigations in football, refusing to overturn a lower court's decision that his closed-door meetings with the FIFA chief had given the impression of bias.

In a verdict issued Thursday, the Federal Court upheld the Federal Criminal Court order in June that Lauber recused himself from the federal prosecutors' investigation.

Lauber has denied wrongdoing and said conspiracy theories about his meetings with the FIFA president. Gianni Infantino and the presumptions of dishonesty were damaging the integrity of the prosecution.

Lauber had been investigating several cases of alleged corruption involving Zurich-based FIFA since 2014 and the presidency of Sepp Blatter . The investigation treats FIFA as a victim rather than as a suspect.

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Lauber had acknowledged two meetings with Infantino in 2016, saying they were intended to help coordinate the investigation. Later, he recognized a third meeting in 2017 after media reports emerged about the encounter.

Lauber had his pay cut for a year after a watchdog discovered last month that he repeatedly spoke falsehoods and broke prosecutors' code of conduct to handle the investigation.

A fraud trial has already begun against three former senior German soccer officials and a Swiss for a suspicious payment linked to the 2006 World Cup hosted by Germany, but it appears to be on the brink of collapse amid a mandatory coronavirus trial halt such as a statute of limitation. .

Separately, the organizers of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar have strongly denied the allegations by the US Department of Justice. USA That bribes were paid to obtain votes for the tournament's hosting rights.

Suspicion and rumors have long surrounded both the 2010 FIFA executive vote to deliver the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar.