Beck­en­bauer can­cels Swiss trip amid in­ves­ti­ga­tion

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport -

BERLIN — Franz Beck­en­bauer yes­ter­day can­celled a pub­lic ap­point­ment in Zurich, amid the on-go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion by Swiss pros­e­cu­tors into cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions over the award­ing of the 2006 World Cup to Ger­many.

The Ger­man foot­ball leg­end, who owns a South African win­ery, can­celled an ap­point­ment to at­tend a pub­lic wine tast­ing in a Zurich ho­tel to present his own brand of “The Kaiser’s Wines”.

Beck­en­bauer (70), is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated, along with three other mem­bers of the 2006 World Cup or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee — Hans-Ru­dolf Sch­midt, Theo Zwanziger and Wolf­gang Niers­bach, by the Of­fice of the At­tor­ney Gen­eral of Switzer­land.

The court in Bern on Thurs­day an­nounced that pros­e­cu­tors have been in­ves­ti­gat­ing the four Ger­mans since Novem­ber last year, the month af­ter Ger­man magazine Der Spiegel first broke the cash-for-votes scan­dal.

The quar­tet are be­ing in­ves­ti­gated over al­le­ga­tions of fraud, crim­i­nal mis­man­age­ment, money laun­der­ing and mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion.

Searches were car­ried out at eight lo­ca­tions on Thurs­day and Ger­man daily Bild re­ported that of­fi­cials spent two hours search­ing Beck­en­bauer’s Salzburg home.

“Franz Beck­en­bauer sup­ported the in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the Swiss au­thor­i­ties, since he had prior knowl­edge of it (the search) and will con­tinue to co-op­er­ate with all the au­thor­i­ties in­volved,” Beck­en­bauer’s lawyer told Bild.

Ac­cord­ing to the pa­per, for whom Beck­en­bauer writes a reg­u­lar col­umn, the home of Urs Linsi, the for­mer gen­eral sec­re­tary of world foot­ball’s gov­ern­ing body Fifa, was also searched.

Beck­en­bauer cap­tained Ger­many to the 1974 World Cup and coached the side that won the tro­phy in Italy in 1990.

The cash-for-votes scan­dal has hung over Ger­man foot­ball since Oc­to­ber 2015 when Ger­man magazine Der Spiegel claimed that a se­cret fund of 10 mil­lion Swiss francs was used to buy the host­ing rights of the 2006 World Cup.

The money al­legedly came from the late Robert Louis-Drey­fus, ex-boss of Adi­das, at Beck­en­bauer’s re­quest, and was handed over in 2000, just be­fore Ger­many were awarded the 2006 fi­nals by a nar­row vote.

In March, Fifa’s Ethics Com­mit­tee opened for­mal pro­ceed­ings, which are still on­go­ing, against Beck­en­bauer re­gard­ing the award­ing of the 2006 fi­nals.

In May, an in­de­pen­dent in­quiry com­mis­sioned by the Ger­man Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (DFB) said it could not rule out that Ger­many bought votes to se­cure the 2006 World Cup.

In July, Fifa’s ethics com­mit­tee banned Niers­bach, the ex-pres­i­dent of the DFB, for one year over mis­con­duct sur­round­ing the 2006 bid. — AFP

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