Franz Beckenbauer, one of German’s legendary #Soccer players is among top officials being investigated for fraud as well as other offences linked to Germany’s bid to host the 2006 World Cup.
Swiss investigators have their eyes on a payment of $7.5 million (6.7 million euros) issued by the German #Football Federation also known as D.F.B. The money was intended to pay for a gala which was part of the country’s efforts to host the World Cup
Beckenbauer’s home raided by detectives
As part of the investigations set off by a wider probe being conducted by Swiss authorities due to allegations of corruption at FIFA, authorities in Switzerland and Austria searched 8 locations including Beckenbauer’s home.
Investigators also questioned several individuals including Horst Schmidt, the committee’s vice president and a current member of FIFA’s ruling council, Wolfgang Niersbach. According to the investigators, the officials knew that the money was not going to finance the gala, but rather to pay a debt not owed by the D.F.B.
In the 1966 World Cup final at Wembley, Germany lost to England. Later, Beckenbauer, affectionately known as ‘Der Kaiser’ led Germany to reclaim their lost glory by winning the World Cup in 1974. That win and the subsequent successful bid for the 2006 tournament cemented his position as a national hero.
In July, FIFA’s ethics committee banned Niersbach from any soccer related activities for a year. The committee said that Niersbach failed to report findings of possible misconduct. Apart from fraud, the officials are suspected of criminal misappropriation, mismanagement and money laundering. In spite of the investigations, the presumption of innocence applies to the suspects, the Switzerland attorney general’s office said.
Suspects deliberately misled board members
Swiss prosecutors say that the suspects deliberately misinformed and misled other members of the board charged with organizing the 2006 World Cup. This was probably accomplished by concealment of the truth and false pretences which induced other committee members to act in a manner that led to the D.F.B losing money in the process.
Blatter was aware of irregular payments
According to a report by the German football federation, Beckenbauer was heavily linked to irregular payments by the German federation to FIFA in April, 2005. He was also a close associate of the former FIFA president. The report says that FIFA paid the money to a Swiss account set up by Robert Louis-Dreyfus, a former Adidas chief.
Schmidt and Beckenbauer are among the officials suspected of irregular deals including suspicious payments and contracts aimed at gaining advantage in the hosting selection of the 2006 World Cup. The report claims that Blatter knew about the payments, however, the former FIFA president has denied these allegations.