- Why are the media against Super League but in favour of foreign ownership and Uefa incompetence?
- Corruption news: Fifa to face trial on grounds of holding an unreasonable monopoly
By Tony Attwood
There has been an investigation going on into the hiring of a private plane to fly Infantino from Central America back to Switzerland for a non-existent urgent meeting. We covered the story in various articles leading up to Infatino and his gang get his prosecutor thrown off the case! The earlier articles are linked within that piece.
Now the two appointed special investigators of the Swiss Attorney General’s Office have announced they have finally closed the investigation surrounding an expensive private jet flight from April 2017.
But not because Infantino had been punished or has no case to answer. Rather the obvious misuse of Fifa funds for hiring the plane to fly from Central America to Switzerland is now seen as a minor issue in the investigations into the main proceedings which are Infantino’s infamous secret meeting Michael Lauber – formally Switzerland’s most senior legal officer.
Now, according to reports in Switzerland (as ever ignored by the English media), the reason for the private plane was to have a private conversation with the Greek lawyer Vassilious Skouris, who was then appointed head of ethics at Fifa.
But, and this is the big bit, this revelation is totally contrary to Infantino’s original justification for the flight. And the fact that the man Infantino was talking to was about to become the head of ethics at Fifa, makes it a bit awkward that Infantino did not disclose this conversation sooner.
The private jet that Infantino hired to take him from Surinam to Switzerland cost $129,300, so Infantino was asked to justify this. He said that he needed to meet with Uefa President Aleksander Ceferin. But that meeting never took place not least because Cerferin was himself on a long-planned trip to Armenia.
And yet the “special investigators” working on the Infantino corruption case did not even check this essential fact. They simply accepted Infantino’s word, and reported it as irrefutable evidence.
Thus the special investigators are now being seen as special whitewashers. Not least when they add to their testimony that Infantino had also wanted this conversation with Skouris to be “treated confidentially.” So confidentially that they didn’t check that it happened.
The timing of the closure of the case is also interesting. Infantino is up for re-election and having this case hanging over him might make some of those prepared to vote for his re-election to demand a few more of the readies for their vote (although of course to be clear I have absolutely no evidence that any of the voting for Infantino will be on the basis of bribery or corruption.)
But it is a little coincidental that this difficult case for Infantino to explain away will be wrapped up just before his election. Especially as a new case has recently hit the courts, this one involving another Infantino flight: this one for a trip to New York in October 2015.
And here’s another thing. Should Infantino have been meeting Skouris, given that Skouris was a candidate for the supposedly “independent” top ethics post in Fifa. And if so, why was the meeting so secret?
Now just before that meeting, the acting heads of the Fifa ethics department, Hans-Joachim Eckert and Cornel Borbely had been investigating Infantino. Then as they landed to attend the Congress they were told in emails that they were being deposed. Skouris took over as head of ethics, and effectively left the Fifa boss alone, despite a raft of ongoing scandals.
So in the accounts of what was going on there were a lot of discrepancies between Infantino’s statements and what actually happened. When asked by journalists from the Swiss newspaper, SZ Ueli Maurer, a member of the Swiss Federal Council, spoke at the opening of the Fifa Congress in 2015 where he emphasised that Switzerland condemns any form of corruption. On 28 May, Maurer also said that Fifa was “out of balance” and needed action to restore its credibility. However, while calling for reform, he refused to blame Blatter, reminding his audience of some of his achievements for youth in football.
Now, defending Infantino over the issue of the flights, Maurer stated, “We only had to check whether the costs caused by the flight at the expense of Fifa were correct from a criminal law point of view.”
Such a view, however, means that there is no longer any need for a compliance department since false information can be given about alleged meetings that regretably somehow never actually take place – and nothing is ever checked.
Worse it turns out that the investigators did not verify that Skouris was in Geneva at the time, which they could have done through looking at flight and hotel receipts. But rather they trusted the word of a few witnesses in interviews.
When the flight became public in 2020, Fifa had to address it (although of course the English media refused even to mention the fact that Infantino was under investigation). Then everything was “settled”, after a review of the relevant documents.
But now we find that the relevant evidence was gathered at a meeting with the ethics chief who should have been investigating the matter totally independently.
So now it is clear: at Fifa the people who investigate every scrap of wrongdoing, are part of the in-crowd within Fifa. No investigation into any potential wrong doing by Fifa is anything other than a cover-up. Only the external investigation by governmental departments is likely to bring about the truth.
And yet this is the organisation that the English media support along with Uefa, as part of their desperate attempt to stop Super League – an organisation which would exist outside of Fifa and Uefa.
Why, one wonders, are the media so much in favour of corruption?
- Arsenal v Lens: the team, the home/away form and the strange coincidences
- Arsenal v Lens: they had a poor start but are now flying
- Where there is power, money and greed there is corruption
- Why do Tottenham players get fouled more than those of any other club?
- The media, the League and PGMO. An insidious agreement rears its ugly head