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Swiss prosecutors end criminal proceedings against FIFA boss Gianni Infantino

Story by Reuters

(CNN) — Criminal proceedings against FIFA President Gianni Infantino over his dealings with former Swiss attorney general Michael Lauber have been closed, Swiss prosecutors said on Thursday, a decision Infantino hailed as a vindication of “the new FIFA.”

Infantino was elected in 2016 to clean up world soccer body FIFA after it became embroiled in corruption scandals.

However, Swiss authorities launched proceedings against Infantino himself in 2020 on suspicions of secrecy violations, abuse of office and aiding and abetting related to meetings he held with Lauber.

In ending the proceedings, prosecutors said their investigations had “invalidated” such suspicions.

Swiss-Italian Infantino, who had repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, said the decision was a “a full and clear victory for me, for the new FIFA and for justice.”

“Indeed and with no surprise, the investigation fully and clearly confirms that I have always acted in a lawful and correct way, always defending exclusively the interests of FIFA and football,” Infantino said.

Swiss authorities had been investigating contacts between Infantino and Lauber, who resigned as Swiss attorney general after a court concluded he covered up a meeting with the FIFA boss and lied to supervisors while his office investigated corruption at the football body.

The prosecutors said that their investigation had turned up no evidence that Infantino had “instrumentalized” the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland “into unusual, inexplicable, erroneous or even criminal acts or omissions.”

FIFA said they had noted the decision to close the proceedings “with extreme satisfaction.”

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