Police raid German soccer in FIFA corruption probe

Coca-Cola, McDonald's want FIFA's Sepp Blatter out
Coca-Cola, McDonald's want FIFA's Sepp Blatter out

German soccer is being dragged into FIFA's spiraling corruption scandal.

Police raided the offices of the German Football Association (DFB) early Tuesday as part of an investigation into tax evasion linked to the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Fifty investigators are looking into a $7.35 million payment made by the German tournament's organizing committee to FIFA in 2005.

DFB said last month there was no link between the payment and the award of the tournament to Germany several years earlier, but admitted that the money may not have been used for a FIFA cultural program as previously stated.

Prosecutors are now looking at that payment as possible false accounting.

"This payment actually served a different purpose and should not have been entered as a deductible business expense," the Frankfurt state prosecutor said in a statement.

The homes of DFB President Wolfgang Niersbach and former DFB officials were also searched Tuesday.

DFB said it would cooperate fully with the police.

Other alleged crimes of embezzlement and international bribery would not be investigated because of the statute of limitations, the prosecutor said.

It's the latest twist in the scandal surrounding the award of the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively, and FIFA's management.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter and Secretary General Jérôme Valcke were among a group of officials suspended from football's governing body earlier in October.

Swiss banking giant, Credit Suisse, said last week it had been questioned by prosecutors investigating whether multiple financial institutions allowed suspicious transactions, or failed to observe anti-money laundering laws in relation to FIFA officials.

And the Serious Fraud Office in the U.K. said a week ago that it had received new information related to possible money laundering at soccer's governing body. It said its investigation is focusing on the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

The U.S. Justice Department launched a large-scale probe earlier this year, and charged several FIFA officials with bribery, fraud, and money laundering.

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