SPORTS Swiss prosecutor in FIFA corruption probe quits after being cleared
A Swiss federal prosecutor suspended last month in connection with corruption investigations in the world of football has been cleared of wrongdoing and quit his job, authorities said on Friday.
The criminal probe into the head of the Swiss federal prosecution’s economic crimes division, Olivier Thormann, has been dropped, the attorney general’s office said in a statement.
The OAG announced last week Thormann’s temporary suspension in connection with “investigations into football and FIFA”, but did not specify which probes the prosecutor had been working on or the nature of the charges against him.
But Ulrich Weder, a special prosecutor appointed to investigate the case, told the RTS public broadcaster Friday that Thormann had been accused of “violating trade secrets, accepting benefits and corruption in connection with (his) contacts with a former FIFA employee.”
He was cleared on all counts, OAG said, adding that the prosecutor nonetheless would leave his job.
“Attorney General Michael Lauber and Olivier Thormann jointly decided to end his work contract,” the OAG said, adding that it “thanks Olivier Thormann for the work he has provided.”
Since a raid on a luxury hotel in Zurich in May 2015 led to the arrests of a number of FIFA executives and shone the spotlight on the corrupt underbelly of world football, Switzerland has pursued a number of cases.
Charges have been pressed against former FIFA president Sepp Blatter as well as against FIFA’s former Secretary General Jerome Valcke.
Swiss investigators have also searched UEFA’s offices in Nyon concerning revelations made in the so-called Panama Papers over a broadcasting rights contract signed by the organisation’s former secretary general, Gianni Infantino, the current president of FIFA.
The latest series of Football Leaks allegations meanwhile shone a light on Infantino’s relationship with another Swiss prosecutor, Rinaldo Arnold, spurring Swiss authorities to open an investigation.
Infantino allegedly invited Arnold to attend the World Cup in Russia, the 2016 FIFA Congress in Mexico and the Champions League final in Milan that year, in exchange for organising meetings with Lauber and other OAG chiefs.