October 8 – German prosecutors have searched several offices of the German Football Association (DFB) in the latest investigation into corruption, this time over the conduct of six former and current DFB bosses suspected of serious tax evasion.
The prosecutors’ office in Frankfurt said the six, who have not been named, were suspected of having intentionally falsely declared income from advertising inside stadiums during matches in 2014 and 2015 as income from asset management, leading to an evasion of €4.7 million of tax.
Some 200 officials were deployed in the searches that took place across several locations in five federal states.
“Based on the investigation until now there is the suspicion that those accused knew of the tax incorrectness but consciously did it to give DFB a major tax advantage,” a statement said.
Earlier this year, the much anticipated 2006 World Cup fraud trial in Switzerland collapsed, allowing three prominent former German football supremos to escape a verdict. Prosecutors had alleged that one-time German Football Association (DFB) leaders Theo Zwanziger, Wolfgang Niersbach and Horst Schmidt plus former FIFA number two Urs Linsi misled the DFB about the destination of a CHF10 million (€6.7 million payment). Germany’s 2006 bid committee chief Franz Beckenbauer, who had been entangled in the case from the start, was not charged because of ill-health.
Niersbach was reportedly DFB president at the time of the seemingly unrelated latest investigation announced Wednesday which is specifically to do with perimeter advertising at sports stadia.
The DFB recently “amicably” ended its cooperation with its Swiss-based marketing agency Infront after almost 40 years after reports emerged of possible financial irregularities.
The latest accusations come just as the DFB is trying to clean up its act. Current German FA boss Fritz Keller said he wanted to “cooperate fully”.
“[The DFB] will support everything comprehensively,” he said. “I am in favour of full transparency.”
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