Former special prosecutor in FIFA case criticises his dismissal

Keller was appointed by parliament to the role of special prosecutor in September 2020. Keystone / Urs Flueeler

Special prosecutor Stefan Keller, who was removed from an investigation into FIFA president Gianni Infantino, has said various aspects of the Swiss justice system had an interest in seeing him “sidelined”.

This content was published on August 9, 2021

In May, Keller stepped aside from the investigation into informal meetings between Infantino and former Swiss attorney general Michael Lauber after a legally-binding ruling by the Federal Criminal Court accused him of bias.

The court agreed with a complaint made by FIFA which accused Keller of himself not being impartial, based on press releases about the case published over the past year.

In an interview with the Neue Zürcher Zeitung on Monday, Keller repeated his claim that the decision by the three judges at the federal court was not impartial. He also criticised the fact that the decision could not be appealed – as similar decisions at a cantonal level can be.

Keller said the reasons why the judges – two of whom are members of the right-wing People’s Party, he stressed (as is Infantino’s lawyer) – would want to get him off the case were clear:

“The members of [the court] must stand for re-election before parliament in autumn. Since the court has been at the centre of media criticism after various cases, any new problems for them would have been disastrous. My investigations would have impacted some of these judges in Bellinzona.”

Keller also criticised the office of the Swiss attorney general. He said various important files were not made available to him until the end of his mandate, and that the obstruction of his work was “probably systematic”. This suggests that “the attorney general’s office is not yet ready to account for the past years”, he said.

Keller said such problems will remain until a new attorney general to replace Michael Lauber – who resigned in July 2020 – is elected.

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