German Soccer Association Raided Over Payment to FIFA

  • Frankfurt prosecutors probe DFB leadership for tax evasion
  • 6.7 million-euro payment allegedly disguised in tax documents

Germany’s DFB Soccer Association was raided by prosecutors and police on Tuesday morning in a probe into a 6.7 million-euro payment ($7.4 million) to FIFA linked to the country’s application to host the 2006 World Championship.

Prosecutors are probing DFB’s current president as well as its leader in 2006, for aggravated tax evasion, prosecutors’ spokeswoman Nadja Niesen said in an e-mailed statement, without using their names. Both worked in the 2006 championship organization committee. The DFB’s current president is Wolfgang Niersbach. In 2006, it was headed by Theo Zwanziger.

"The suspects allegedly evaded tax in 2006 by filing a wrong declaration," said Niesen. "The 2005 payment of 6.7 million euros was declared as a grant for a cultural event while in reality it is alleged to have been used for a different purpose." Frankfurt prosecutors can no longer investigate any corruption-related crimes because the alleged acts happened too long ago, Niesen said.

The payment has been a topic of public discussion in Germany ever since Spiegel magazine on Oct. 16 reported that German World Cup organizers may have paid money in return for votes. The nation’s football association has been unable to fully shed light on why the money was paid to FIFA in exchange for a $250 million grant the world soccer governing body awarded to the organizers after it won the vote.

DFB declined to comment when contacted today. Zwanziger’s lawyer Hans-Joerg Metz said he hasn’t yet been informed about any raids.

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