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FIFA boss says he doesn’t know why prosecutor was suspended

November 15, 2018

MIAMI (AP) — FIFA President Gianni Infantino says he doesn’t know why the lead investigator into corruption within the organization was suspended from that role.

Infantino is a friend of the federal prosecutor, Olivier Thormann, who also teaches law at the same university in Switzerland where the FIFA president studied law.

The FIFA president on Wednesday said he had no contact with Thormann that might have led to the suspension by the Swiss attorney general’s office.

Infantino also said he didn’t think the suspension will jeopardize the investigation of soccer officials under criminal suspicion, including former FIFA President Sepp Blatter.

“Why would it?” Infantino asked. He spoke at a ceremony to mark the opening of North American soccer body CONCACAF’s new Miami office.

Blatter denies wrongdoing and has not been charged. Thormann, the subject of complaints filed in September, was recently suspended by the prosecutor’s office “to clarify the situation.”

The investigation started four years ago when FIFA filed a criminal complaint into suspected money laundering in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding contests. The case grew to include all FIFA business, working with American prosecutors who unsealed indictments and guilty pleas in May 2015.

Seven soccer officials, including two FIFA vice presidents, were arrested on the day of early-morning raids at a five-star hotel in Zurich. Swiss officials later opened criminal proceedings against Blatter for suspected mismanagement.

Thormann’s suspension came after Swiss daily Tages-Anzeiger reported a possible conflict of interest between Infantino and another Swiss regional prosecutor who is a childhood friend.

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