Swiss police raid homes in World Cup probe


Geneva (AFP) – Swiss police raided homes last week as part of a broadening probe into corruption allegations over the awarding of the 2006 World Cup to Germany, prosecutors said Wednesday.

The investigation targeting members of the 2006 World Cup organising committee, including German football legend Franz Beckenbauer, has been expanded to include Urs Linsi, the former General Secretary of world football’s governing body FIFA, the office of Switzerland’s Attorney General said in a statement sent to AFP. 

Switzerland’s top prosecution authority said “that on 23 November 2016 it conducted house searches with the support of the Federal Office of Police (fedpol) at various locations in the German-speaking part of Switzerland.”

The searches were carried out in connection with a probe launched last year into allegations of fraud, criminal mismanagement, money laundering and misappropriation connected with the awarding of the 2006 World Cup to Germany.

The investigation, opened in November 2015, initially targeted Beckenbauer, who headed the committee promoting Germany’s candidacy to host the 2006 World Cup, along with organising committee members Hans-Rudolf Schmidt, Theo Zwanziger and Wolfgang Niersbach.

The attorney general’s office said Wednesday that “a further suspect is Urs Linsi,” who was FIFA secretary general from June 1999 through June 2007.

It added that “the measures carried out on 23 November 2016 relate to Urs Linsi,” who until last week was serving as president of a small Zurich bank.

The statement said the house searches were linked to “a payment of 6.7 million euros ($7.1 million) made in April 2005 by the German Football Association (Deutscher Fussball-Bund, DFB) to Robert Louis-Dreyfus.”

It did not explain further, but the late Louis-Dreyfus, an ex-boss of Adidas, has been accused in media reports of lending the same amount to DFB to help it set up a secret fund to buy votes in support if its bid to host the 2006 World Cup. 

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