In connection with alleged slush funds, which the German Football Association is believed to have held as a candidate to host the 2006 World Cup Finals, this morning tax inspectors have searched the headquarters of the German Football Association (DFB) in Frankfurt and, simultaneously, the homes of the DFB President Wolfgang Niersbach and his predecessor Theo Zwanziger. This was done at the instigation of the Public Prosecutor in Frankfurt on grounds of suspicion of “a particularly serious case of tax evasion”. The suspicions arose from a report in the news magazine Der Spiegel, which in October had reported about some strange money transfers. It was originally all about 13 million German Marks, which the late adidas boss, Robert Louis Dreyfus, had made available to the German World Cup Bid Committee and the alleged repayment of (now) 6.7 million Euros via a bank account of FIFA. Der Spiegel had expressed the suspicion that from the slush fund of the Football Association, bribes had been paid to members of the FIFA Executive Committee.
The publication of the article was followed by a whole string of suspicions and rather confusing statements by the DFB and its President, and finally led to a mudslinging match between Niersbach and Zwanziger, to which Der Spiegel repeatedly made reference. Finally, Zwanziger also ended up battling against the former German international player Günter Netzer, from whom Zwanziger claims to have learned that the Bid Committee, headed by Germany’s football icon, Franz Beckenbauer, had bribed Asian FIFA officials. The investigations of the Frankfurt Public Prosecutor, are focusing on, according to their statement, Niersbach and Zwanziger, both of whom were active in leading positions on both the Bid and Organizing Committees of the 2006 World Cup. “At the request of the Public Prosecutors , the Investigating Judge at the Frankfurt District Court issued search warrants for both the business premises of the DFB and the homes of the accused”, announced the Public Prosecutor. The searches on Tuesday morning were conducted by 50 officers from Frankfurt’s Tax Investigation Department as well as the Specialized Public Prosecution Offices in Frankfurt am Main.
Reprinted by Courtesy of Sport Intern, the international inside World Sports news letter.