Vote-buying not ruled out in Germany’s 2006 World Cup bid, says law firm

Published: Friday 4th March 2016 by The News Editor

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A review of corruption allegations surrounding the 2006 World Cup has found no conclusive evidence of vote-buying by German bidders – but the report left open the possibility that bribery did take place.

“We found no evidence of vote-buying but we also cannot rule it out,” said the report by Freshfields, the firm hired by the German football federation (DFB) to investigate the allegations first made by Der Spiegel magazine on October 16.

The report, presented by Freshfields lawyer Christian Duve, said a payment worth about £5.2 million made by the DFB to Fifa on April 27 2005 was “falsely declared” by the World Cup organising committee for an opening gala and that the money had been intended for former Adidas chief Robert Louis-Dreyfus.

Fifa transferred the money to a Swiss account set up by Mr Louis-Dreyfus the same day and former Fifa president Sepp Blatter was aware of the payment, Freshfields said in its report.

Mr Louis-Dreyfus, who died in 2009, had opened the Swiss account in August 2002, shortly before the payment of 10 million Swiss francs was paid to a Swiss law firm. The law firm’s account also showed previously unknown money transfers involving Franz Beckenbauer, who was leading Germany’s World Cup bid at the time.

The 10 million Swiss francs was then transferred to a company in Qatar belonging to disgraced former Fifa official Mohamed Bin Hammam. He has denied receiving the money, according to the report.

Freshfields said it encountered several “hurdles” in its probe, including missing electronic information, deleted emails, files that were not accessible and people who declined to talk with investigators, including Mr Blatter.

“Because of these restrictions, we cannot present a conclusive picture today,” Freshfields said.

Published: Friday 4th March 2016 by The News Editor

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