Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
• There was and is absolutely no reason to open any investigation because nothing remotely criminal has happened and there is nothing at all to suggest any form of criminal wrongdoing
• Of course it is not illegal. It is not illegal anywhere in the world
• At the time of the meetings between the FIFA President and the Swiss Federal Prosecutor, the Office of the Swiss Attorney General (OAG) was conducting investigations in over 20 cases in FIFA related matters, and FIFA is a damaged party to those proceedings. It was therefore entirely logical for the FIFA President to be meeting the Swiss Federal Prosecutor
• Meetings or contacts between parties and prosecutors are routine during an investigation
• Regular meetings were as well held between the General Counsel of FIFA and the lead investigator of the OAG several times. Meetings like this were held all over the world and led for example to over 40 convictions in the United States
• The purpose was always to offer FIFA’s full support in the investigations. The FIFA President and FIFA officials went to see the most senior law officer in the country to describe the changes that had been made at FIFA and offered cooperation in prosecuting criminal wrongdoing. The FIFA President went there in good faith and as a representative of FIFA. This was also part of his fiduciary duties as FIFA President
• FIFA was trying to restore trust in the institution at that time. When the first meeting took place, Gianni Infantino had only been FIFA President for 24 days. FIFA was in a disastrous situation and at risk of being designated a criminal organisation by the US authorities. In this toxic environment relationships between FIFA and the OAG was only one of the many pressing issues that had to be addressed by the FIFA President
• The FIFA President also wished to explain the concrete steps being taken to bring good governance to FIFA. It has been the FIFA President’s aim from day one to improve governance standards in FIFA and also to assist the authorities with investigating past criminal wrongdoings at FIFA. FIFA officials have met with prosecutors in other jurisdictions across the world for exactly these purposes
• No, in no way whatsoever. The meetings venues were organised by the OAG in public places, like hotels and restaurants. The FIFA President did not chose the venues for the meetings
• All the meetings were officially scheduled well ahead of time by the OAG and were mentioned in their calendars
• There is no obligation for the FIFA President under any FIFA regulation or any law to keep minutes of any such meetings
• First of all, Dr. Stefan Keller has presented no serious elements or legal basis for the opening of any investigation and lacks any detail as to the substance of the case. In addition, the investigation was opened without even consulting the FIFA President first to ask for an explanation
• FIFA has had no access to the file of Dr. Stefan Keller, even if it seems that the anonymous complaints which led him to open his investigation have been provided to the media
• For the record, FIFA and the FIFA President categorically deny any implication or suggestion that the FIFA President would ever have attempted to exert any form of improper influence on the Swiss Federal Prosecutor
• Meeting a prosecutor is the best guarantee that any such meeting is legitimate because if there would be even the slightest suggestion of wrongdoing a prosecutor would and should intervene immediately to report it. This is his legal and professional obligation
• Yes, these meetings were already investigated by another special prosecutor in an investigation concerning Rinaldo Arnold. That investigation was closed and no charges were ever brought
• The meetings were also considered by the Supervisory Authority of the OAG in connection with a disciplinary proceeding against the Swiss Federal Prosecutor and no criminal prosecutions resulted from that either
• Consequently, Swiss federal and cantonal authorities have therefore already examined the very same facts and none of them have concluded that there was any reason for an ex-officio criminal investigation
• He already explained the background to the meetings during the investigation against Rinaldo Arnold mentioned previously and which was concluded with no charges brought
• On the same occasion, FIFA disclosed all the information that it had concerning these meetings including all related correspondence
• In addition, the FIFA President provided further details on the meetings in a letter sent to the President of the Supervisory Authority of the OAG
• He never denied the existence of any meeting
• Basically because some anonymous complaints were filed in the canton of Bern
• One can only speculate on why such complaints were filed not knowing their contents, but objectively they have caused a considerable damage to FIFA and to its President Gianni Infantino, despite the fact that they have no merit whatsoever
• Finally, it should be noted that there is an extremely low threshold under Swiss law for the opening of an investigation following any complaint, even an anonymous one
• The Ethics Committee is an independent body of FIFA and it will do its work independently. Generally, the Ethics Committee does not comment on either existing or potential ongoing proceedings
• The FIFA President will continue to fully assume his functions within FIFA and fulfil his duties and will continue to cooperate with the authorities in Switzerland and around the world
• This media release was published by the international federation of football associations (FIFA) on 2 August 2020. Click here for the original.
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