Home » Summer fairy tale trial: 6.7 million euros for what? It’s about more than tax evasion

Summer fairy tale trial: 6.7 million euros for what? It’s about more than tax evasion

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Summer fairy tale trial: 6.7 million euros for what?  It’s about more than tax evasion

As of: March 7, 2024 4:25 p.m

In the so-called summer fairy tale process, the question of the intended use of the 6.7 million euros overshadows the question of possible tax evasion. The defendants only suggest that witnesses can shed light on the matter, even if they don’t feel like testifying. The court wants to force them.

The Swiss Urs Linsi paid 150,000 euros to the German treasury a good two years ago. For him, the proceedings in which he had been accused of aiding and abetting serious tax evasion were now over. He was happy about it, he said through a spokesman. He didn’t want to say anything more himself.

Linsi mediated between the DFB and FIFA

Linsi, 74 years old, also did not want to say anything in the proceedings before the Frankfurt regional court, in which three former top officials of the German Football Association (DFB) are accused of serious tax evasion, in which Linsi is said to have helped. The former secretary general of the world association FIFA mediated between the DFB and FIFA when it came to repaying a loan that the long-dead entrepreneur Robert Louis-Dreyfus granted to the recently deceased Franz Beckenbauer.

According to those involved, the ominous payment of 6.7 million euros was used to cobble up the equivalent of ten million Swiss francs to FIFA so that it could grant the World Cup Organizing Committee (OC) a grant of 250 million francs to finance the 2006 tournament.

These connections raise many questions, and that doesn’t even include why the 6.7 million euros ended up in the account of a company owned by Mohamed bin Hammam in his home country of Qatar. At the time he was vice president of FIFA’s finance committee, which was responsible for grants, but he was also suspected of corruption, for which he was later banned for life by the world association.

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Hoeneß was called as a witness on April 15th

Linsi could certainly have shed light on the darkness that casts a shadow on the so-called summer fairy tale. However, Linsi told the Grand Criminal Chamber in Frankfurt, which had invited him as a witness, that he neither wanted to testify as a witness in Frankfurt nor be questioned in his native Switzerland.

According to presiding judge Eva-Marie Distler, his justification was that he had no desire and was also in the process of moving to the island of Madeira. Distler asked smugly whether Linsi didn’t know that Madeira belonged to Portugal and therefore to the EU, before announcing: “If anyone doesn’t want to come, we’ll find a way.”

Uli Hoeneß has not yet announced whether he would like to testify in Frankfurt on April 15th. However, it was only announced on Thursday (March 7th, 2024) that he had been invited as a witness to that meeting. The honorary president of FC Bayern indicated several times that he knew what the payment of the 6.7 million was actually for, including in an interview for the podcast “11 Leben”, which traces Hoeneß’ life in detail.

The judge apparently wants to reveal the secret

On the second day of the hearing, Judge Distler made it clear that she was very interested in unraveling the secret surrounding the 6.7 million euros. The payment from April 27, 2005, which the DFB reported in the 2006 tax return as a business expense and thus tax-reducing. Whether this was legal is the reason for the proceedings. It’s about tax evasion in particularly serious cases.

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The accused Horst R. Schmidt (82 years old), Theo Zwanziger (78) and Wolfgang Niersbach (73) explained in detail on Thursday why they were innocent. “I firmly reject the accusation of tax evasion. It is false and defamatory,” said Schmidt, who is very distressed by the proceedings.

Zwanziger continued, as on the first day of the trial on Monday (03/07/24). He accused the investigating authorities of “not being fair”. “Are we actually still closed? This will fall on the feet of the judiciary in Hesse,” rumbled the former president of the DFB.

“The corrupt ones are in FIFA”

In his statement, Theo Zwanziger spent significantly more time attempting to refute the allegations of tax evasion. But he also went into the history of the ominous payment and questionable accounting. Zwanziger reported on a conversation with the late DFB President Egidius Braun. The chance of Germany winning the 2006 World Cup decreased in 1998, Braun told him, because Sepp Blatter won the election for FIFA president against Lennart Johansson.

The Swiss Blatter wanted South Africa as the host, the Swede Johansson was considered a safe vote that would have counted twice in the event of a tie. Germany ultimately won 12:11, also because a member of the electoral committee at the time, who had also since died, left the room under dubious circumstances shortly before the vote.

“The corrupt ones are in FIFA, not in the DFB,” Zwanziger quoted from the conversation with Braun, without elaborating on the suggestion. Schmidt reported that he and Zwanziger had visited Louis-Dreyfus to clarify the matter. But he didn’t want to say anything: “We started the journey home like watered poodles.”

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Defendants do not allow any questions

Niersbach claimed that he only found out about the ominous payment in the summer of 2015, a few months before it was published in the news magazine “Der Spiegel”, which got the proceedings rolling. Much earlier, however, he had heard “vague rumors about something in return,” and the name Bin Hammam was mentioned in this context.

Neither Zwanziger nor Niersbach nor Schmidt allowed the court to ask questions about their statements. She would have had many for each, said Judge Distler and referred to the further days of the trial.

The trial will continue on March 28, but still without witnesses. If Hoeneß and perhaps Linsi, perhaps also Günter Netzer as the mastermind at a legal marketing company at the time, perhaps also Fedor Radmann as a member of the World Cup OK and a close confidant of Beckenbauer were invited and testified, the darkness should at least be shed a little.

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