Ex-German football officials face 2006 World Cup fraud probe

Ex-German football officials face 2006 World Cup fraud probe

Agency News

Beijing, Aug 6 : Swiss federal prosecutors have accused three former German Football Association (DFB) officials - Horst R Schmidt, Theo Zwanziger and Wolfgang Niersbach - of jointly committing fraud over a payment related to the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.

Former Swiss FIFA secretary general Urs Linsi was charged of "complicit in fraud" in a joint indictment.

According to a statement from the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG), the four "are alleged to have fraudulently misled the members of a supervisory body of the DFB organising committee for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany in April 2015 about the true purpose of a payment of around 6.7 million euros."

According to the OAG, German football legend Franz Beckenbauer, who was in charge of the 2006 World Cup bid at that time, accepted a loan of around 6.7 million euros from Adidas' then-boss Robert Louis-Dreyfus.

That sum was alleged to have then been transferred from an account controlled by Beckenbauer to a company owned by former FIFA executive Mohamed Bin Hammam of Qatar, who was banned for life from football in 2011 for corruption.

Der Spiegel reported in October 2015 that the money was used to buy votes for the hosting of the 2006 World Cup.

In 2009, the 6.7 million euros was transferred from the DFB account to FIFA as a "pass-through" payment to a Swiss account held by Louis-Dreyfus, which the OAG believed to be a repayment of the loan.

Former DFB presidents Zwanziger and Niersbach, former German football federation secretary Schmidt and former player Beckenbauer comprised the four-man presidential board of the 2006 World Cup, while Linsi was their primary contact partner.
However, according to the statement, Beckenbauer will be sued in a separate indictment due to his ill health, which prevented him from participating in or being questioned at the hearing in the Federal Criminal Court.(XINHUA)