Police Raid Offices of German Soccer Association in Tax Probe – Wall Street Journal
FRANKFURT—German authorities on Tuesday raided the headquarters of the country’s governing body for soccer in connection with a tax-evasion probe related to the World Cup hosted by Germany in 2006, Frankfurt prosecutors said.
Tuesday’s search of the Deutscher Fußball-Bund’s premises comes as German prosecutors investigate whether a €6.7 million ($7.4 million) payment made ahead of the tournament by the German World Cup organizing committee to FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, violated German tax rules.
The payment in question was made in the spring of 2005 by the DFB’s organizational committee. A tax deduction was claimed for the payment, said to be for a cultural program related to the World Cup in 2006. However, the payment wasn’t used for this purpose and shouldn’t have received the deduction, the prosecutors said.
A task force of 50 officers conducted the raid, state prosecutors said. The probe concerns the DFB president, Wolfgang Niersbach, as well as former officials.
“The DFB has pledged investigators its full cooperation in clearing up the accusations,” the group said in a statement.
The DFB confirmed that the prosecutors impounded documents related to the case from its headquarters. The association itself isn’t a target of the investigation, it said. Prosecutors said they also searched the residences of current and former officials at the association.
Prosecutors also said a decision was made earlier not to pursue allegations related to fraud and bribery, given statutory limits.
Last month, FIFA’s ethics committee said it was investigating Franz Beckenbauer, the former German soccer champion.
The committee didn’t provide a reason for the investigation, but Mr. Beckenbauer has been involved in awarding at least three World Cups, including Germany’s bid to host the games in 2006. In 2010, he was a member of the Executive Committee that awarded the 2018 games to Russia and the 2022 games to Qatar.
Mr. Beckenbauer has denied any wrongdoing.
Corrections & Amplifications
German authorities on Tuesday raided the headquarters of the country’s governing body for soccer. A previous version of this article said the country’s premier-league soccer association had been raided.