Swiss prosecutor disciplined for misconduct in FIFA case

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              FIFA President Gianni Infantino addresses a meeting of European soccer leaders at the congress of the UEFA governing body in Amsterdam's Beurs van Berlage, Netherlands, Tuesday, March 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Swiss attorney general Michael Lauber was disciplined Wednesday for misconduct during an investigation of FIFA, including failing to tell the truth about an undisclosed meeting with the soccer body’s president Gianni Infantino.

The ruling of a panel overseeing the federal prosecution office also found Lauber obstructed its disciplinary investigation and had not grasped how his conduct was problematic.

“On several occasions he did not speak the truth, acted in a disloyal manner, violated the code of conduct of the federal prosecutor’s office and obstructed the (disciplinary) investigation,” the ruling stated.

Lauber was fined 8% of his salary for one year, the oversight panel ordered. The amount of salary involved was not disclosed.

In fallout from scrutiny of his role in the five-year soccer corruption case, Lauber was recused from the sprawling FIFA investigation last year by Switzerland’s federal criminal court.

Lauber was not formally involved in indictments last month issued against Qatari soccer and television executive Nasser al-Khelaifi, the president of French champion Paris Saint-Germain, and former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke.

Four soccer officials from Germany and Switzerland — including Valcke’s predecessor at FIFA, Urs Linsi — were also indicted last August on charges linked to an irregular payment between FIFA and organizers of the 2006 World Cup. German soccer great Franz Beckenbauer is also implicated.

Still, Lauber was given a renewed four-year mandate last September by Swiss lawmakers while the disciplinary probe was ongoing.

Key to the disciplinary case was a June 2017 meeting Lauber had with Infantino at a hotel in the Swiss capital Bern at which the prosecutor took no notes.

Lauber had previously acknowledged two undeclared meetings he had in 2016 with the recently elected Infantino when they were reported in the Football Leaks series of confidential documents published in November 2018.

In 2018, Lauber called a news conference and said the first two Infantino meetings were justifiable exchanges with FIFA’s new leader about long-running investigations affecting soccer’s world body. They were brokered in part by a prosecutor who was Infantino’s friend since childhood.

However, the third 2017 meeting remained secret for several more months.

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