German FA in the firing line

Police raided the headquarters of the German Football Association (DFB) on Tuesday for suspected tax evasion tied to the 2006 World Cup.              

The investigation comes in the wake of allegations that the DFB made a secret payment of £4.6 million to FIFA to secure votes for the right to host the footballing spectacle.

According to reports in Germany, officers hit the homes of DFB president Wolfgang Niersbach and his predecessor, Theo Zwanziger, with authorities, confirming the two officials are amongst the accused.

A statement from German prosecutors read: "Frankfurt prosecution has opened investigations for suspected tax evasion in a particularly serious case related to the awarding of the 2006 World Cup and the €6.7m transfer from the DFB to FIFA.

"They are directed against the DFB president and former vice president of the organising committee [Wolfgang Niersbach], the acting DFB president in 2006 and former treasurer of the organising committee [Theo Zwanziger], as well as the former DFB general secretary [Horst R. Schmidt].

"The defendants have been accused of filing incorrect tax returns as to content within the scope of their then-responsibilities, and thereby considerably shortening corporate and trade tax as well as the solidarity tax for the year 2006.

"According to present knowledge the organising committee is believed to have claimed tax-reducing effects for operating costs for a €6.7m payment for a cultural programme in the spring of 2005, even though it was underlying a different purpose, and the payment, therefore, should not have been claimed as deductible operating costs.

"At the request of the prosecution the investigating judge at Frankfurt district court has ordered the search warrants for the DFB premises as well the tenements of the defendants.

"They today have been enforced by 50 officers of Frankfurt's tax investigation as well as the prosecution for economic offences.

"Regarding other offences coming into deliberation like embezzlement as well as corruption in international business affairs there has been no reasonable suspicions because of the statute of limitations, and thus it has abstained from starting investigations."

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