ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss authorities have searched more houses as part of their criminal investigation into suspected corruption in world soccer and have added former FIFA general secretary Urs Linsi to their list of suspects, they said on Wednesday.
“The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) of Switzerland confirms that on 23 November 2016 it conducted house searches with the support of the Federal Office of Police (fedpol) at various locations in the German-speaking part of Switzerland,” the OAG said in an emailed statement.
“The measures were carried out as part of the investigations relating to a payment of 6.7 million euros ($7.1 million) made in April 2005 by the German Football Association (Deutscher Fussball-Bund, DFB) to Robert Louis-Dreyfus.”
That payment which went via soccer’s world governing body FIFA, according to German authorities, to the late Adidas boss Dreyfus, was a return of a loan made years earlier when Germany was bidding to host the 2006 World Cup.
It has since been linked with payments to FIFA officials via the account of then World Cup chief and Germany’s former soccer great Franz Beckenbauer.
Beckenbauer is under investigation by Swiss authorities, who have opened criminal proceedings against him and two former presidents of the DFB in connection with Germany’s successful bid for the 2006 World Cup.
Beckenbauer has previously admitted to making mistakes but has denied wrongdoing.
The affair has shocked soccer-mad Germany and forced the resignation of former DFB President Wolfgang Niersbach last year. He has since been banned by FIFA for a year.
The DFB’s own report into alleged irregularities over the awarding of the 2006 World Cup was published in March.
It said that, while there was no evidence of Germany paying FIFA members in return for votes, payments were made to at least one former FIFA official through a web of accounts involving several other firms or individuals, including Beckenbauer.
($1 = 0.9399 euros)
Reporting by Joshua Franklin; Editing by Michael Shields