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Germany’s successful bid for the 2006 World Cup was achieved with the help of bribes paid to FIFA executive committee members, the German magazine Der Spiegel has reported.

Spiegel claims the German bidding committee set up a slush fund of 10.3 million Swiss francs that was funded by former Adidas chief Robert Louis-Dreyfus.

The money was allegedy used to secure the votes of four Asian representatives on FIFA’s 24-member executive committee before the tournament was awarded to Germany in 2000.

The Asian members joined European representatives in voting for Germany, which won 12-11 over South Africa after Charles Dempsey of New Zealand abstained from the vote.

Spiegel alleged Chung Moon-joon of South Korea, who was recently banned from football for six years, as telling the magazine that ”the questions were unworthy of a response.”

Spiegel said that both Franz Beckenbauer, a World Cup winner both as a coach and a player, who headed the bidding committee, and Wolfgang Niersbach, the current president of the German football federation (DFB), were aware of the fund by 2005 at the latest.

Spiegel said Louis-Dreyfus asked for the money back a year-and-a-half before the tournament began. Beckenbauer, by then the president of the organizing committee, and Niersbach, the vice president, ”began looking for a way in 2005 to pay back the illicit funds in an inconspicuous manner,” the magazine reported.

The pretext was created with the help of FIFA and 6.7 million euros was transferred to Fifa as a contribution to an opening ceremony gala that was later cancelled.

”The money had been paid into a FIFA bank account in Geneva. From there, FIFA allegedly promptly transferred the money to a Zurich account belonging to Louis-Dreyfus,” Spiegel reported.

Louis-Dreyfus died in 2009.

Earlier Friday, the DFB said it was investigating whether a 6.7 million euro payment made by its World Cup organizing committee to FIFA in April 2005 for a ”cultural program” had been misused.

”As part of its audits the DFB found no evidence of irregularities. Nor was there any evidence delegates’ votes were purchased as part of the application process,” the DFB said in a statement.

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