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Swiss prosecutor's FIFA woes mount as lawmaker panel recommends ouster

Swiss prosecutor's FIFA woes mount as lawmaker panel recommends ouster
FILE PHOTO: Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber attends a news conference after its department's watchdog investigation on his private meetings with FIFA President Gianni Infantino, in Bern, Switzerland May 10, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse -
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ZURICH (Reuters) – A Swiss parliamentary panel has recommended against re-electing Attorney General Michael Lauber following undocumented meetings he held with world soccer body FIFA President Gianni Infantino, Swiss public TV SRF reported on Wednesday.

The Judicial Committee decided against Lauber by a margin of 9-6 and will give its recommendation to parliament members who vote on Sept. 25 whether to give him another term as the nation’s most senior prosecutor.

Lauber held at least three confidential meetings in 2016 and 2017 with Infantino amid his office’s investigation of several cases of suspected corruption surrounding Zurich-based FIFA, though the prosecutor has defended his office’s handling of the case and called a disciplinary probe an attack on his office’s independence.

“The Federal Prosecutor’s Office has taken note of the decision of the court commission,” his office said in a statement following the vote. “Michael Lauber maintains his candidacy for the 2020-2023 term.”

In June, another Swiss court stripped Lauber of his authority in the case when it ordered him to recuse himself from the federal prosecutors’ investigation into corruption in world soccer, ruling that his closed-door meetings with Infantino raised the appearance of bias.

Prosecutors remaining on the case in August filed fraud charges against three former senior German soccer officials and one Swiss over a suspect payment linked to the 2006 World Cup hosted by Germany, the Swiss Attorney General’s office said on Tuesday.

Swiss parliament could still discount the recommendation and re-elect Lauber, who was elevated to the AG post in 2012.

(Reporting by John Miller; editing by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi)

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