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Zwanziger believes bribe was paid to land 2006 World Cup

The former head of the German FA has presented what he believes is evidence of bribery in the bidding process for the 2006 World Cup. Current DFB officials have denied that any votes were bought.

Former DFB President Theo Zwanziger made the latest allegation in an interview published by the mass-circulation newspaper "Bild" on Tuesday.

In the interview, Zwanziger showed the "Bild" reporter a Swiss court document that he claimed was evidence that $250,000 (226,000 euros) was paid to Oceania football official Charles Dempsey on the eve of the vote in which Germany won the right to host the 2006 World Cup.

The document, from a trial of executives from the collapsed Swiss sports marketing company ISL, indicated that this sum was transferred to an anonymous recipient identified only as "E16." Zwanziger suggested that "E16" referred to the then-FIFA Executive Committee member Dempsey.

Zwanziger wrote "Dempsey!" next to a payment made on July 5, 2000. Next to a further transfer of $250,000 made a month earlier in a list of payments from ISL, Zwanziger also wrote Dempsey's name, but this time with a question mark instead of an exclamation mark. He presented no evidence to show why he believed "E16" referred to Dempsey.

Key abstention

In the final round of voting for the 2006 World Cup, held on July 6, 2000, Dempsey a New Zealander who died in 2008 at the age of 87, abstained, allowing Germany to win a 12-11 vote over South Africa. After arriving back in New Zealand, Dempsey told reporters that he had abstained after being threatened by "influential European interests." He denied accepting any bribes. ISL, which collapsed in 2001, was closely affiliated with FIFA, soccer's world governing body.

'Spiegel' allegations

This just the latest twist in an ongoing controversy over how Germany won the right to host the 2006 tournament. It began with an article published by "Spiegel" newsmagazine more than a week ago. It reported that a 2005 payment of 6.7 million euros made by the World Cup's organizing committee was to reimburse the late former Adidas CEO, Robert Louis-Dreyfus for a loan of 10 million Swiss francs in 2000. The report cited unnamed sources who said the money had been used to buy the votes of four Asian members of FIFA's Executive Committee, helping Germany win the right to host the 2006 tournament.

The DFB's current president, Wolfgang Niersbach, has denied this, saying that the original payment from Dreyfus wasn't made until 2002, long after Germany had been awarded the World Cup. There were "no slush funds, no votes were bought," Niersbach told a press conference in Frankfurt last Thursday. Instead, Niersbach said, the 10 million Swiss francs were used to unlock FIFA subsidies to be used in the organization of the tournament.

On Monday, the head of the organizing committee for the 2006 World Cup, Franz Beckenbauer issued a statement in which he also said that no votes had been bought.

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