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Report: Swiss investigators uncover dubious payment to Beckenbauer

A German daily has reported that Swiss investigators have uncovered a dubious payment made by FIFA to Franz Beckenbauer. Swiss prosecutors confirmed last year that they had opened a probe into the football legend.

According to the report published in the mass-circulation newspaper "Bild" on Monday, Swiss prosecutors have uncovered a payment to Franz Beckenbauer that was transferred to a bank account in Gibraltar. The report cited documents that it said were part of the ongoing investigation into the 71-year-old Beckenbauer, and that the payment was for his work as a consultant for the South African Football Association (SAFA).

It said that a total payment of at least 1.7 million euros ($1.8 million) had been made to Beckenbauer, as well as his close associates Fedor Radmann and Andreas Abold. It said that in 2005, a year after South Africa was granted the right to host the 2010 World Cup, the SAFA had found itself in financial difficulty and asked football's world governing body FIFA to advance it the money on loan.

While there is nothing illegal about Beckenbauer receiving a consulting fee from the SAFA, according to the report, Radmann and Abold had their portion of the fee transferred to accounts in Germany, but Beckenbauer's was transferred to a bank account in Gibraltar, allowing him to avoid paying German taxes on it. There was no immediate comment on the story from either Beckenbauer or FIFA.

Swiss prosecutors confirmed last September that they had opened an investigation into the former West Germany, Bayern Munich, and New York Cosmos star for possible breach of trust and money laundering in November 2015. At the heart of the investigation is an allegedly illicit payment of 6.7 million euros made by the DFB in 2005 to former Adidas CEO, Robert Louis-Dreyfus.

The affair surrounding the awarding of the 2006 World Cup started with a report published by "Spiegel" in October 2015. The news magazine reported that to swing the 2000 vote on who would host the World Cup in Germany's favor, the committee headed by Beckenbauer had borrowed 10.3 million Swiss francs (6.7 million euros, $7.49 million at the time) from the late Louis-Dreyfus. It also reported that the same amount was paid back to Louis-Dreyfus through a FIFA account in 2005. The money was declared as having been for a cultural event, which never took place.

A probe completed last spring by a law firm that the DFB hired to look into the allegations, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, found no evidence that the 2006 World Cup had been bought.

pfd/sb (SID)

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