A scandal surrounding the awarding of the right to host the 2006 World Cup in Germany has taken a new twist. Swiss prosecutors have confirmed that they have opened an investigation into football legend Franz Beckenbauer.
Swiss prosecutors on Thursday confirmed a story published by the German newsmagazine "Der Spiegel," which reported that they had launched an investigation into football legend Franz Beckenbauer for possible breach of trust and money laundering.
The Associated Press quoted a spokesperson from the office of Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber, who said more details about the case would likely be revealed later in the day.
Prosecutors have described the investigation into Beckenbauer, a former star player for Bayern Munich, Germany, and the New York Cosmos, as being part of an "ongoing operation" in a wider investigation into the 2006 World Cup Organizing Committee.
Beckenbauer headed Germany's successful bid to host the 2006 tournament and later became president of the Organizing Committee.
"Spiegel" first broke the story about alleged illicit payments related to the awarding of the 2006 tournament last October. Former German Football Association (DFB) President Wolfgang Niersbach later resigned over the affair.
Beckenbauer, 70, who won the World Cup both as a player and coach, has not yet commented on the news of the Swiss investigation, but has previously denied any wrongdoing.
pfd/sms (AP, Reuters, dpa)