A week before his expected re-election as FIFA President, Gianni Infantino has achieved a legal success. The investigations against the 52-year-old in connection with the use of a private plane have been discontinued, the Swiss Attorney General announced.
The suspicion of unfaithful business management or fraud was "not confirmed, but invalidated" by the taking of evidence, according to the statement by the two federal prosecutors Hans Maurer and Ulrich Weder.
Infantino was able to demonstrate "that his decision was in line with FIFA's expense regulations for high-ranking officials". The criminal proceedings in question were therefore discontinued on March 2, 2023.
FIFA welcomes the prosecutor's decision
Specifically, it was about a chartered plane for the trip from Suriname to Switzerland in April 2017 after a several-day visit by FIFA member associations to the Caribbean and the question of whether FIFA could have suffered economic and financial damage as a result. The FIFA Ethics Committee had launched a preliminary investigation into this matter, but discontinued the proceedings in August 2020 "due to a lack of credible evidence".
FIFA welcomed the decision of the federal prosecutor's office and stressed in a statement that Infantino "will refrain from asserting the claims for damages and compensation to which he is entitled".
However, the federal prosecutors Maurer and Weder emphasized that the main proceedings against Infantino and other people on suspicion of breach of official secrecy, abuse of office and favoritism and incitement to do so have not yet been discontinued. The evidentiary procedure and the investigation procedure are "still in progress". Specifically, it is about several meetings not recorded by the Federal Prosecutor's Office, especially between representatives of the Federal Prosecutor's Office on the one hand and FIFA on the other.
Infantino has been president of the world association since February 26, 2016 and is the successor to his compatriot Joseph Blatter, who, after a number of scandals, no longer stood as a candidate. The Swiss is standing for re-election at the FIFA Congress on March 16 in Rwanda. There is no opposing candidate. His confirmation in office is considered certain.