Geneva (AFP)

An investigation against Fifa President Gianni Infantino has been opened in connection with the sprawling Fifagate corruption case, Swiss justice announced Thursday in a statement.

The extraordinary federal prosecutor "opens criminal proceedings against the president of Fifa Gianni Infantino and the first prosecutor of Haut-Valais Rinaldo Arnold", in particular for "abuse of authority", "violation of official secrecy" and "obstruction of the 'criminal action'.

This announcement comes a week after the resignation of Swiss prosecutor Michael Lauber, accused of his management of Fifagate, and suspected of collusion with Mr. Infantino.

Michael Lauber, then in charge of the Fifagate investigation, and Gianni Infantino met informally on several occasions in 2016 and 2017, raising questions about a possible collusion.

The extraordinary federal prosecutor Stefan Keller, appointed at the end of June to examine the criminal complaints lodged against MM. Lauber and Infantino, requested that Mr. Lauber's immunity be waived so that he can also take legal action against him.

He concluded that "there are elements of reprehensible behavior" following one of the meetings between Michael Lauber, the president of FIFA, and the first prosecutor of Haut-Valais Rinaldo Arnold.

Fifagate began with the Zurich police raid against FIFA officials at the Baur au Lac hotel in 2015. At that time, the organization was chaired by Sepp Blatter.

Some 45 natural and legal persons have been indicted to date by the American justice in "Fifagate", having uncovered a vast system of corruption, which undermined especially the federations of the American continent.

In Switzerland, more than twenty procedures concerning Fifa have been opened for five years.

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