The Swiss parliament must decide on Wednesday to renew or not the boss of the Swiss prosecutor, challenged in proceedings related to the International Football Federation because of his meetings with FIFA President Gianni Infantino.
Will Michael Lauber be re-elected for a third four-year term as Attorney General of the Swiss Confederation (MPC)? On Wednesday 25 September, the 246 elected representatives of the Swiss Federal Assembly will decide whether or not the 53-year-old magistrate will continue his mission. If he does not have a majority of votes, the position will be re-allocated.
On 4 September, the Judicial Committee of the Swiss Parliament, whose opinion was advisory, recommended (by 9 votes to 6 and 1 abstention) not to recommend the re-election of Mr Lauber. This negative notice, however, did not deter the group of the far-right party of the Central Democratic Union (UDC) from voting in favor of the renewal of the Swiss prosecutor.
In the first line
Since May 2015 and the anti-corruption raid conducted at the Baur Hotel on the shores of Lake Zurich at the request of US authorities, Mr. Lauber was in the forefront of scandals related to the International Federation of Football (FIFA) . Responsible for the 20 or so FIFA-related proceedings since March 2015 (including the disputed awarding of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar), Mr Lauber was challenged in June by the complaints court of the Swiss Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona. In July, his appeal was rejected.
Like magistrates Olivier Thormann and Markus Nyffenegger, Mr. Lauber has been removed from the "FIFAgate" file and will no longer participate in the sessions concerning these investigations. It is now Deputy Attorney General Jacques Rayroud who is responsible for these cases.
Requests for disqualification were made by the French Jérôme Valcke, former FIFA Secretary General (2007-2015), who is the subject of criminal proceedings opened in 2016 and 2017 by the MPC, and by the German-German Markus. Kattner, former CFO of the International Federation.
These requests for disqualification were motivated by the revelations of "Football Leaks". The latter was the result of two informal meetings between Mr Lauber and Gianni Infantino, FIFA President since 2016. At the request of FIFA, a civil party in the ongoing proceedings, the first meeting was held at the Bernese Hotel. Schweizerhof, on 22 March 2016, five days after the opening of criminal proceedings against Mr Valcke.
On April 22, 2016, a second meeting between MM. Infantino and Lauber took place at Au Premier restaurant in Zurich. In addition to the head of the economic crime division of the Swiss public prosecutor's office, Olivier Thormann, Marco Villiger, then FIFA's legal director, also attended this meeting.
"People at this meeting do not remember what they talked about. It's really weird. "
A former FIFA employee
Mr. Lauber is currently under disciplinary investigation by the MPC Supervisory Authority (AS-MPC) for secretly meeting Gianni Infantino in June 2017, and not having mentioned him at the time of the meeting. his first interrogation. The content of the exchanges, which took place outside any procedural framework, was never notified. " Those present at this third meeting do not remember what they talked about. It's really weird ", Says a former employee of FIFA.
As part of the disciplinary investigation initiated by the AS-MPC, Mr Lauber entrusted the defense of his interests to the lawyers Lorenz Erni and Francesca Caputo. It has fueled the suspicions of conflict of interest as Lorenz Erni is also the adviser to former FIFA president (1998-2015), Sepp Blatter.
Since September 2015, the former head of world football is the subject of criminal proceedings, opened by the MPC, in the framework of the famous case of the payment of two million Swiss francs (1.8 million euros) made, in 2011, Michel Platini (put out of cause in May 2018 by the floor). The MPC also suspects Mr Blatter of having signed, in 2005, "An unfavorable contract to FIFA" with the Caribbean Football Union, of which Trinidadian Jack Warner was the president.
For nearly four years, the MPC has still not made any pronouncements on the criminal proceedings against Mr Blatter, who hopes to close the investigation. Like most of the protagonists involved in FIFA-related investigations, Mr Blatter believes that his case is frozen Because of Mr. Lauber's uncomfortable situation. And that the decision of the Swiss Parliament to renew or not the prosecutor could change the situation and lead to an acceleration of the judicial pace.
"My case will make a lot of noise. There I eat a little black bread but I will soon have croissants and white bread. Sepp Blatter
"As we said on radio Tour de France during the milestones of 300 km: RAS for four years. But it will move one way or the other (discontinuation of prosecution or trial) from Wednesday, ensures World Mr Blatter, also suspended six years by the FIFA Ethics Committee in 2015. My case will make a lot of noise. There I eat a little black bread but I will soon have croissants and white bread. "
By the way, the former FIFA president does not spare his successor for his controversial role in the Lauber affair ». " Gianni Infantino has met several times with prosecutor Lauber. It's still a world! It's a shame for Swiss justice Sepp Blatter, 83, says.
Whatever the decision of the Swiss Parliament on Wednesday, "the Lauber case" has particularly weakened the Swiss prosecutor's office, slowed down in its investigations on the "FIFAgate".