News 1 September 2016

Swiss authorities raid eight locations in 2006 World Cup probe

The Swiss Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has searched eight locations and questioned suspects as part of its ongoing criminal investigation into financial mismanagement regarding Germany’s organisation of the 2006 FIFA World Cup. The OAG also confirmed that it has been investigating Horst Rudolf Schmidt, Theo Zwanziger, Franz Beckenbauer and Wolfgang Niersbach since 6 November 2015 in relation to allegations of fraud (Art. 146 Swiss Criminal Code (SCC)), criminal mismanagement (Art.158 SCC), money laundering (Art. 305bis SCC) and misappropriation (Art. 138 SCC).

‘The four persons named were members of the executive board of the organising committee for the 2006 World Cup in Germany’, read a statement issued today. ‘The investigations focus on the joint financing of a gala event, initially at the cost of €7 million, later reduced to €6.7 million. It is suspected that the suspects knew that this sum was not being used to fund the gala event, but instead to repay a debt that was not owed by the DFB. In particular, it is suspected that the suspects wilfully misled their fellow members of the executive board of the organising committee for the 2006 World Cup. This was presumably done by the use of false pretences or concealment of the truth, thus inducing the other committee members to act in a manner that caused DFB a financial loss.’

In March, a 361-page report compiled by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer found that the €6.7 million payment, made in 2005, ‘was deliberately falsely declared by the World Cup organising committee. It was registered as an amount in connection to the FIFA opening ceremony, but intended for Robert Louis-Dreyfus.’ Louis-Dreyfus was then CEO of Adidas, a partner of the 2006 World Cup.

Once the €6.7 million was paid by the DFB to FIFA, it was transferred to Louis-Dreyfus’ Swiss bank account the same day, the report found. However, payments were also made between this account and that of Franz Beckenbauer, who was head of the World Cup organising committee at that time, the report found. It is understood that in February, the DFB launched legal proceedings against DFB staff for approving the payment.

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