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Swiss prosecutor cleared in ‘FIFA gifts’ probe

A Swiss magistrate investigating allegations of corrupt links between a Swiss regional prosecutor and FIFA chief Gianni Infantino and has closed his investigation, clearing him of any suspicion.

Swiss prosecutor cleared in 'FIFA gifts' probe
FIFA president Gianni Infantino. File photo: AFP

The special prosecutor appointed late last year concluded that gifts that Rinaldo Arnold, received were not aimed at influencing his work, said a statement from his office. Arnold is a prosecutor in the southern canton of Valais.

Arnold had been suspected of receiving the gifts from FIFA chief Infantino, which included match tickets, in return for favours, said the statement. The case was closed on April 10th.

The investigation was launched last year as a result of “Football Leaks”, a cross-border investigation by several European news organisations based on a massive leak of hacked data in 2016.

Rui Pinto, a Portuguese hacker linked to the leaks, is being held in Portugal awaiting trial there on charges of “aggravated attempted extortion” and data theft. If convicted he could face up to 10 years in prison.

READ ALSO: Swiss watchdog criticises Credit Suisse over Fifa money laundering

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‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame

A Swiss super fan who has shot to fame after images of him watching Switzerland’s win over France went viral told the media he was unaware of his viral fame - but that he was overwhelmed with the world’s attention.

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame
Image: Twitter.

Like most Swiss football fans, Luca Loutenbach’s Monday evening – highlighted by a surprise upset win over the current World Champions and tournament favourite France – went about as well as you could have expected. 

But while his side were putting on the pressure through late goals to push the game into extra time, Loutenbach’s image was being shared across the world. 

Two pictures of Loutenbach, juxtaposed from before and after Switzerland scored an equaliser in the 90th minute to send the game to extra time, were widely shared. 

The images were even shared by Sadiq Kahn, the mayor of London, who congratulated Switzerland and said the images summed up the beauty of football. 

On Tuesday, Loutenbach spoke with Swiss tabloid Blick to tell the story. He said he had no idea about the images as his phone had no reception in Romania – and only found out after the game. 

“I didn’t have a network during the game. But some fans around me were connected to the internet and quickly realized what was happening. What an incredible buzz!” said the man from the canton of Jura. 

While Switzerland have made it further than they have in their history in the tournament, Loutenbach is far from a bandwagon fan. He told Blick he’s seen around 50 national team games before. 

“It’s the most beautiful day in the history of Swiss football, let’s not be afraid of saying it. It is the accomplishment of the immense work of the ASF (Federation), of (coach) Petkovic and of the whole team” he said. 

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