Swiss prosecutors have confirmed they are opening a criminal investigation into German football legend Franz Beckenbauer and three others over possible irregularities concerning Germany’s bid to host the 2006 World Cup.

As members of that cup’s organising committee, they are suspected of fraud, criminal mismanagement, money laundering and misappropriation.

Former vice-president of the German Football Association (DFB), president of the 2006 World Cup local organising committee (LOC) and former member of the Fifa executive committee

Some of the alleged crimes were carried out on Swiss territory.

“It is suspected that the suspects knew that this sum was not being used to fund the gala event, but instead to repay a debt that was not owed by the DFB,” prosecutors said in a statement.

“In particular, it is suspected that the suspects wilfully misled their fellow members of the executive board of the organising committee for the 2006 World Cup.

“This was presumably done by the use of false pretences or concealment of the truth, thus inducing the other committee members to act in a manner that caused DFB a financial loss.”

Swiss prosecutors have named four suspects who are under investigation.

As well as Beckenbauer, the others name are Wolfgang Niersbach, the Former president of the DFB and current member of the Fifa and Uefa executive committees, Theo Zwanziger the former president of the DFB and former member of the Fifa and Uefa executive committees, and
Horst Rudolf Schmidt, a former secretary-general of the DFB. All four were members of 2006 World Cup local organising committee.

Beckenbauer, who headed the bid, has previously denied corruption over the accusations of bribery and irregular payments of several million dollars linked to FIFA.

Last October, he said he had made a “mistake” in the bidding process to host the competition in 2000 but denied votes had been bought.

In March, football’s world governing body Fifa began looking into six men for their part in Germany winning the rights to host the 2006 cup.

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