Three organizers of the 2006 World Cup that took place in Germany are facing tax evasion charges.
Theo Zwanziger, Wolfgang Niersbach and Horst R. Schmidt have been indicted following a long investigation into payments made by FIFA, a charge they vehemently deny.
According to the Associated Press (AP), the three men “are accused
of falsifying tax returns on behalf of the Germany soccer federation (DFB) in 2006,” with the DFB already having coughed up about 19.2 million Euros in back taxes.
Besides being pursued by German tax authorities, the three organizers are also being looked into by the Swiss government and FIFA’s ethics committee.
by AP, an investigation “into a complex payments trail including 6.7 million euros ($7.8 million) to FIFA in April 2005,” which Zwanziger said was allocated for the “World Cup opening gala and therefore tax-deductible,” instead landed “in a Swiss account belonging to former Adidas chief Robert Louis-Dreyfus, who died in 2009.”
Inside the Games’ Dan Palmer writes
that, allegedly, “the money was used to help bribe members of FIFA's ruling Executive Committee, which has since been rebranded as the Council, who had a vote to decide the host of the 2006 World Cup.”
The Swiss authorities had launched this investigation back in 2016 following suspicions that the German nationals had engaged
in “fraud, money laundering, criminal mismanagement and misappropriation.”
Germans Deny World Cup Tax Evasion Charges
All three German footballing officials deny the charges brought against them by the tax authorities.
Zwanziger, who served as both DFB’s treasurer and president in the past, said
, “This charge is blind actionism to distract from their own wrongdoing and push this ‘hot potato investigation’ as quickly as possible into the responsibility of the courts. I had at no time any reason to make the already rich DFB by even richer by tax evasion.”
“At no time, I had any inducement to make the rich DFB richer by evading taxes,” he added
and asserted he has no clue where the $6.7 million payment came from.
Niersbach also denied the charges, telling
SID, “It will be shown that the charges against me are completely unfounded.”
According to reports, FIFA’s former General Secretary Urs Linsi also faces charges as a result of these activities.
Colombia’s Radamel Falcao Guilty of Tax Evasion in Spain
In related news, following in the footsteps of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Alexis Sanchez and others, Colombia’s star Radamel Falcao is the latest footballer to be sentenced for tax evasion in Spain.
Falcao was found guilty of evading taxes between 2012 and 2013 and was ordered to pay a massive £7.9 million fine and serve a 16-month prison sentence, which was suspended and replaced by a £84,300 fine.
by The Sun, the forward, who plays for Monaco in France and will be representing his home country in the upcoming World Cup, “was accused of using a shell company in the British Virgin Islands and Ireland to hide gains from his image rights.”
More specifically, Falcao was charged with defrauding the Spanish government of €822,609 and €4,839,253 in 2012 and 2013, respectively.
Pick the World Cup Winner!
Since the 2018 World Cup in Russia is just a few weeks away, we thought of asking our members:
Who’s your favorite to lift the trophy on July 15?
Share your selection with our members in the comments’ section and tell us why they will win!