Swiss special counsel clears friend of FIFA head Infantino

FIFA President Gianni Infantino gives a thumbs up after speaking to the press at the swearing-in ceremony of Rogerio Caboclo as president of the Brazilian Football Confederation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, April 9, 2019. The biggest challenges for Caboclo will be ending Brazil's World Cup title drought, dating back to 2002, improving the country's youth teams and moving the national governing body away from scandal. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

A special counsel's office in Switzerland says it has closed an investigation into a regional prosecutor's links with FIFA president Gianni Infantino

NIDWALDEN, Switzerland — A special counsel's office in Switzerland says it has closed an investigation into a regional prosecutor's links with FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

After reports in the "Football Leaks" series last November, a criminal proceeding for possible passive corruption was opened against Rinaldo Arnold, a childhood friend of Infantino.

Arnold accepted invitations to be a FIFA guest at last year's World Cup in Russia, and at the body's annual congress in Mexico City in May 2016.

The chief prosecutor in the Upper Valais region was also linked to brokering meetings between Infantino and Swiss federal prosecutors who have investigated FIFA for more than four years, before Infantino was elected in 2016.

The special counsel's office says it has dismissed suspicions Arnold accepted benefits in connection with his work.

Infantino said in November he broke no FIFA rules by extending invitations to a friend.

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