GENEVA (AP) — FIFA President Gianni Infantino claims he could make a criminal complaint over an unauthorized recording of a meeting that revealed comments damaging his reputation.
Infantino told Sunday's edition of Swiss daily Le Matin he had "a good idea" how details of a FIFA Council meeting in Mexico City last month had leaked.
"I reserve the right to make a complaint about theft of sensitive data," said Infantino, whose three-month-old presidency has exposed rifts at FIFA where Sepp Blatter's 17-year reign ended mired in scandal.
Leaks to German-language newspapers in recent days showed Infantino describe a $2 million salary offer as "insulting" and detailed Council talks about getting FIFA audit and compensation panels chairman Domenico Scala to leave.
"My enemies want to make me look greedy, it's stupid," said Infantino, who insists he is negotiating a salary of less than $2 million.
On Friday, FIFA revealed that Blatter and recently fired top officials Jerome Valcke and Markus Kattner awarded themselves contracts paying a total of $80 million in five years.
That long-awaited release of top pay deals at FIFA was made as news emerged that Swiss police had raided FIFA headquarters on Thursday. The latest seizure of evidence seemed provoked by Kattner's firing for an ongoing investigation of suspected criminal mismanagement, including the award of World Cup broadcasting rights.
Police searched the office of former finance director Kattner but not his own, Infantino noted.
FIFA fired Kattner on May 23 for breach of trust, and suggested possible illegal clauses in his employment contract.
Ten days later, Swiss police came to FIFA to seize documents and electronic data for its case against Blatter, former secretary general Valcke — who already have criminal proceedings opened against them — and "further persons unknown."
Within 24 hours, FIFA outlined the pay raises, World Cup bonuses and other financial incentives that Blatter, Valcke and Kattner received in recent years.
FIFA suggested some clauses guaranteeing Valcke and Kattner termination pay and indemnification for future legal costs could breach Swiss law. Kattner's already-lengthy contract was extended in May last year through 2023 just four days after a sprawling American indictment of FIFA and marketing officials was revealed.
Switzerland's federal prosecution office confirmed Friday that FIFA has not yet filed criminal complaints over the contracts.
FIFA has said documents that justified firing Kattner were found only in mid-May as part of an ongoing year-long internal inquiry by its retained U.S. law firm, Quinn Emanuel.
"With all that is going on right now, we can expect anything (to emerge)," Infantino was quoted saying in the Swiss interview, his first since the latest police intervention.
In a difficult period of high-profile officials leaving and leaks to media, Infantino is reportedly the subject of a complaint to FIFA ethics prosecutors for ordering the unauthorized copy of the audio file to be deleted.
"If there is a destruction operation, it is directed against me," the FIFA head said in Sunday's interview, dismissing "carefully orchestrated hysteria" in the media to undermine him.
Infantino also aimed a barb at Scala, whose resignation from FIFA in protest against the president was announced as officials left Mexico City three weeks ago.
Scala's criticism was "childish behavior worthy of a playground," his fellow Swiss-Italian Infantino said.