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Summer fairy tale trial: Hoeneß summoned as a witness

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Summer fairy tale trial: Hoeneß summoned as a witness

As of: March 7, 2024 2:55 p.m

Uli Hoeneß is to testify in the summer fairy tale trial before the Frankfurt/Main regional court.

Judge Eva-Marie Distler said at the start of the second day of the trial on Thursday (March 7, 2024) that the honorary president of record champions Bayern Munich had been invited as a witness on April 15th. The reason for this are statements from Hoeneß from 2020 and 2021.

At that time, the now 72-year-old indicated in a TV interview and a podcast that he knew why the dubious million-dollar payments were made around the 2006 World Cup in Germany. “If you get involved so prominently, you might have to explain it in court,” said Distler, justifying her measure.

Zwanziger again criticizes judicial authorities

The trial will continue on March 28th, when the lawyers for the German Football Association (DFB) will have their say. Hoeneß is scheduled to appear on the fourth day of the trial. “I’m listening to Hoeneß calmly,” said the accused Theo Zwanziger, who again sharply attacked the judicial authorities: “But at the end we will hear the result that there was no tax evasion in 2006 – let alone tax evasion.” Zwanziger added smugly that he would soon suggest Lothar Matthäus as a witness.

On Thursday, in addition to Zwanziger, the other accused former DFB top officials also testified. The former presidents Theo Zwanziger and Wolfgang Niersbach as well as the long-standing general secretary Horst R. Schmidt are charged with “evading or aiding in the evasion of corporation tax, solidarity surcharge, trade tax and sales tax for the year 2006 in the amount of over 13.7 million euros in favor of the DFB”. burden placed.

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In focus: the ominous 6.7 million euros

Niersbach, Zwanziger and Schmidt, who like the late Franz Beckenbauer were members of the World Cup organizing committee, reject the allegations. The investigation into the opaque money flows surrounding the 2006 World Cup has been dragging on for several years. In Frankfurt it’s about the ominous 6.7 million euros that were declared as operating expenses for a gala.

The money was allegedly transferred in 2005 by the organizing committee via the world association FIFA to the former adidas boss and now deceased Robert Louis-Dreyfus. Exactly this sum had obviously flowed to Qatar three years earlier in the form of advance payments from Beckenbauer and Louis-Dreyfus to the former FIFA official Mohamed bin Hammam.

Niersbach lawyer requests that the process be stopped

Schmidt once again explained his already known version, according to which the 6.7 million euros first had to flow in order to receive FIFA’s World Cup grant of 250 million Swiss francs. Niersbach emphasized that he was not involved in the entire process: “I would never have jeopardized the success of this great event by behaving in the way that I am being accused of here.”

At the end of the first day of the trial, Niersbach and Schmidt’s lawyers requested that the proceedings be discontinued. If this happens, the public prosecutor’s office will probably want to take further legal action.

The public prosecutor’s office had previously shown itself open to an out-of-court settlement. Distler stated that she was “not opposed to an early end to the process,” but that the “right time” for it had not yet come. Therefore, 24 days of negotiations are still scheduled until October 28th.

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The “Summer Fairy Tale Process”

The three defendants, Theo Zwanziger, Horst R. Schmidt and Wolfgang Niersbach, are accused of tax evasion in a particularly serious case. You had declared a payment of 6.7 million euros as a business expense in the DFB’s tax return for 2006. This would have resulted in a lower tax liability. However, the prosecution assumes that the reason for the payment (subsidy for a FIFA gala that never took place) was intended to conceal the true purpose. It does not recognize the profit-reducing expense as such and therefore assumes tax evasion.

The defendants protest their innocence.

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