Swiss launch criminal probe of Beckenbauer over German World Cup bid

Thu Sep 1, 2016 10:32am EDT
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ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss authorities have opened criminal proceedings against German soccer great Franz Beckenbauer and two former presidents of Germany's football federation (DFB) in connection with its successful bid for the 2006 World Cup.

The Attorney General's office (OAG) in Bern said the proceedings related to allegations of fraud, criminal mismanagement, money laundering and misappropriation.

Raids were carried out simultaneously in eight locations on Thursday with the cooperation of authorities in Germany and Austria, the OAG said.

In all, four members of the 2006 tournament's organizing committee were placed under investigation.

They were Beckenbauer - who led West Germany to World Cup wins as both player and manager - former DFB presidents Theo Zwanziger and Wolfgang Niersbach, and former secretary general Horst Schmidt.

Beckenbauer, who could not immediately be reached for comment on Thursday, has previously admitted to making mistakes but has denied wrongdoing.

Widely regarded as one of the game's finest players, he captained the West Germany team that won the 1974 World Cup and was coach when they won again in 1990.

Now 70, he is also a former member of world soccer body FIFA's executive committee.

Earlier this year, Germany's DFB commissioned a report into alleged irregularities over the awarding of the 2006 World Cup.   Continued...

Franz Beckenbauer, President of Germany's World Cup organising committee, holds a golden soccer ball during a presentation next to the Brandenburg gate in Berlin April 18, 2006. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz/File Photo