Swiss police raid UEFA headquarters to examine contract

Wed Apr 6, 2016 6:49pm EDT
 
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By Stephanie Nebehay

NYON, Switzerland (Reuters) - Swiss police raided the headquarters of the European soccer body UEFA on Wednesday to gather information about a contract signed by Gianni Infantino, now head of the global soccer body FIFA, that was reported in the Panama Papers.

The Swiss attorney-general's (OAG) office said the search in Nyon, Switzerland, was part of "ongoing criminal proceedings" and had been launched because of "suspicion of criminal mismanagement and ... misappropriation".

"The OAG's criminal proceedings are in connection with the acquisition of television rights and are at present directed against persons unknown, meaning that for the time being, no specific individual is being targeted by these proceedings," it added.

Infantino, elected FIFA president in February, said in a statement issued by the soccer body that he welcomed any investigation into the matter. He said on Tuesday he was "dismayed that his integrity was being doubted".

Reports from multiple news organisations, citing a leaked document from the so-called Panama Papers, said on Tuesday UEFA sold broadcast rights for 2006-09 Champions League matches to Argentine businessmen Hugo and Mariano Jinkis, owners of Cross Trading.

These reports said the pair resold the rights to Ecuadorean broadcaster Teleamazonas for three times as much, though UEFA said it had no knowledge of such a deal.

UEFA has confirmed that Infantino, who was working for UEFA at the time, was one of two of its officials who signed the contract. UEFA has denied any wrongdoing by itself or Infantino.

"UEFA can confirm that today we received a visit from the office of the Swiss Federal Police acting under a warrant and requesting sight of the contracts between UEFA and Cross Trading/Teleamazonas," UEFA said in a statement.   Continued...

 
FIFA President Gianni Infantino arrives for a news conference at the Colombian Football Confederation headquarters in Bogota, Colombia, March 31, 2016. REUTERS/John Vizcaino