Qatar spied on the former Swiss public prosecutor and eavesdropped on a secret meeting with the FIFA president, amid fears that he would be stripped of hosting the 2022 World Cup.
According to what was reported by the Swiss weekly NZZ am Sonntag, Qatar organized an intelligence operation to spy on an informal meeting six years ago between then Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber and FIFA President Gianni Infantino.
The newspaper said that the investigation it had conducted for months had revealed this The secret meeting in Berne on June 16, 2017, which cost Lauber his job after it was revealed, was secretly recorded to Qatar. According to the German newspaper NZZ am Sonntag, the room where the meeting took place was equipped with microphones.
At that time, it was an office Lauber was investigating allegations of massive corruption in world football.including irregularities in the decision to award Qatar the 2022 World Cup.
However, when it became known that he had had three informal meetings with Infantino, notably the one that took place in 2017, he had to resign.
The meeting took place in the luxurious Schweizerhof Hotel, which has been run by Qatari owners since 2009. In a conference room down the hall from the Qatari embassy, note NZ.
Various investigations revealed that, fearing losing the right to host the 2022 World Cup due to allegations of corruption and human rights violations, Qatar launched an international influence operation. The country spied on FIFA officials and on Lauber, according to NZZ, which claims it obtained “secret official documents proving the spying operation” at the Schweizerhof Hotel.
The newspaper also claimed that sources with direct knowledge of the incident described the operation, on the condition of anonymity, and said that they were involved in it. Codename “Project Matterhorn” (by Matterhorn).
The sources said the main purpose of the espionage was to collect incriminating materials that could be used to put pressure on the public prosecutor.
The investigation adds to data disclosed last November by the Swiss media SRF And Swiss So detailed information The State of Qatar there was It orchestrated a large-scale and long-running intelligence operation against those responsible in FIFA Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent in hacking operations to ensure regulation World Cup 2022.
As that investigation revealed, The State of Qatar b Ruthless project To win the bid to host the World Cup after the award of the tournament was heavily criticized by FIFA to the controversial country in 2010. The plan was huge: The budget amounted to 387 million dollars. The activities spanned across five continents. In fact, the highest echelons of the Qatari government have been involved in espionage activities, including the current Head of State, the Emir of Qatar.
Documents show that the project wanted to make sure nothing was done that could jeopardize the celebration of World Cup 2022 in Qatar.