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Infantino welcomes ‘full and clear victory’ as case against him is closed

Fifa has announced the closure of criminal proceedings against its president, Gianni Infantino, over meetings he had with Switzerland’s former attorney general. Infantino declared the decision a “full, clear victory for me, Fifa and justice” and demanded an apology for the damage caused by accusations from people he called “poor, envious and corrupt”.

Legal proceedings had been opened in July 2020 when complaints were made over meetings between Infantino, the Swiss AG Michael Lauber and the chief public prosecutor of the Upper Valais, Rinaldo Arnold.

Stefan Keller, the Swiss special federal prosecutor, was on the case until May 2021 but was removed after a successful complaint from Fifa over four press releases issued from his office which world football’s governing body said demonstrated “extreme bias”.

Hans Maurer and Ulrich Weder, Keller’s successors, took the case on, but Fifa said on Thursday that proceedings had been closed with no charges brought.

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Al Jari will appear before the investigating judge, according to a judicial source. 

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The FTT was not immediately available for comment. Reuters

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In a statement, it said: “Fifa takes note, with extreme satisfaction, of the decision of the two Extraordinary Federal Prosecutors, Hans Maurer and Ulrich Weder, to dismiss and definitively close the proceedings against Gianni Infantino in relation to the so-called ‘Lauber case’.”

Infantino said: “This is a full and clear victory for me, for the new Fifa and for justice! It is now clear that the accusations against me were mere attempts by poor, envious and corrupt people to attack my reputation. If these people have some dignity left, they should at least have the decency and apologise for their actions and the damage caused.

“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.”

An investigation into alleged misuse of a private jet by Infantino in 2017 was closed this year by the Switzerland’s Office of the Attorney General.

Infantino has been Fifa’s president since February 2016. He caused controversy last November when he responded to criticism about the human rights situation in Qatar – which was hosting the men’s World Cup – by accusing critics of hypocrisy in what has become known as his “today I feel Qatari” speech.