Swiss prosecutor joined 'secret meeting' with FIFA's Infantino (Photo Credit: File Photo)
A Swiss prosecutor investigating corruption in football met in secret with FIFA president Gianni Infantino, German and Swiss media alleged, further fuelling allegations of collusion between football's world governing body and Swiss investigators.
Citing unnamed sources, German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) and Switzerland's Luzerner Zeitung suggested that Cedric Remund, 38, was the previously unidentified fifth person at a secret meeting with Infantino and Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber at the Schweizerhof Hotel in Bern on June 16, 2017.
If proven, the allegation could potentially compromise a number of high-profile football corruption probes of which Remund was directly in charge, claimed SZ.
According to the newspaper, the June 2017 meeting with Infantino was also attended by Lauber, his spokesman Andre Marty and Rinaldo Arnold, a friend of Infantino and senior prosecutor for the Upper Valais canton.
Lauber, who is in charge of the investigation into FIFA corruption which opened in 2015, had previously denied the meeting to the ethics body (AS-MPC) that oversees Swiss ministries during a disciplinary hearing.
Yet an AS-MPC report in March said the meeting had taken place, and accused Lauber of "breaching several of his professional obligations," including "repeatedly not telling the truth" and "acting disloyally."
It also cut eight per cent from the prosecutor's salary, though the 54-year-old remains in office, having been reappointed by parliament last September.
The ethics body also found that a fifth person had attended the 2017 meeting, whom the German and Swiss newspapers claimed was Remund.
According to the SZ, Remund was directly in charge of the corruption investigation into Germany's hosting of the 2006 World Cup, as well as a probe into a suspicious TV rights contract signed by Infantino between European governing body UEFA and two Argentinian businessmen in 2006.
Both probes were ongoing at the time of the June 2017 meeting."What is clear is that an investigating prosecutor should never have been allowed to attend this meeting," the newspaper wrote.
Lauber's office has steadfastly defended other meetings with Infantino, insisting they were logistically necessary given the scope of the FIFA graft probe.
Switzerland's FIFA investigation concerns alleged misconduct that occurred before Infantino replaced Sepp Blatter in 2016.