Beckenbauer accused of fraud over 2006 World Cup

Beckenbauer accused of fraud over 2006 World Cup

Germany football legend Franz Beckenbauer has been accused of fraud by the Swiss Attorney General’s office in relation to the 2006 World Cup.

He is accused of paying Qatari former Fifa executive Mohamed bin Hammam £8.4 million before the tournament. 

Beckenbauer, who won the World Cup as a player in 1974 (pictured) and a coach in 1990, headed the 2006 World Cup organising committee when Bin Hammam was on the Fifa executive and finance committees.

The money was supposedly partial financing for a World Cup gala that did not take place. 

It is alleged the money was used as a slush fund to buy votes to secure Germany’s bid to host the tournament.

The award of numerous past world cups, which generate billions in revenue, has long been associated with corruption and secret payments. 

Fifa claims that it has since cleaned up its act but the 2006 World Cup continues to attract suspicion. The 2022 Qatar World Cup remains the most controversial decision because of the tiny oil-rich state’s evident inappropriateness for the tournament. Qatar displaced the ideal Australia in the bidding process.  

The Swiss Attorney General’s Office said: “The investigations have revealed that in summer 2002, Franz Beckenbauer accepted a loan of 10 million Swiss francs [€6.7 million] in his own name and for his own account from [Adidas chief executive] Robert Louis-Dreyfus. 

“This sum was used to fund various payments made via a Swiss law firm to a Qatari company belonging to Mohammed Bin Hammam.”

It said the purpose of the payments could not be determined because the Qatari authorities had not responded since requests were made in September 2016. 

Beckenbauer’s health problems prevent him from being questioned.

Swiss prosecutors have filed fraud charges against three German ex-footballing chiefs and a former Fifa boss over a suspect payment linked to World Cup in 2006.

The indictment claims former German Football Association (DFB) presidents Theo Zwanziger and Wolfgang Niersbach, DFB figure Horst Schmidt and an ex-Swiss Fifa operative Urs Linsi misled the DFB about the purpose of the €6.7-million payment.

“This whole Swiss campaign is wretched, malicious and will completely fail, because I have nothing to reproach myself for,” Zwanziger told the media. 

“These incompetent investigators are banging their heads against a brick wall and the wall will always win. The whole thing has long been a judicial scandal and there has been no truly reproachable behaviour on the part of the accused.”

Probes into the payment forced Niersbach to resign as the DFB’s president.

The four men deny the accusations. 

 

Franz Beckenbauer (left) and the Dutch master Johan Cruyff at the 1974 World Cup final. Picture credit: Wikimedia 

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