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DFB: That’s what the Summer Fairy Tale process is about – questions and answers

Mysterious 6.7 million euros This is what the summer fairy tale trial against DFB officials is about – and what Uli Hoeneß has to do with it

Uli Hoeneß: “I think I’m the wrong man to explain this to you”

© Ulrich Gamel / DPA

The trial against the DFB for tax evasion in connection with the dubious 6.7 million euro payment before the 2006 World Cup is being reopened. One question remains unanswered: What purpose did the money serve? Everything you need to know about the procedure.

In the summer fairy tale trial, three former top officials of the German Football Association will have to answer before the Frankfurt regional court from this Monday (10 a.m.) on suspicion of tax evasion in a particularly serious case. We answer the most important questions about the process.

Who are the accused at the DFB?

Former DFB presidents Theo Zwanziger (2004 to 2012) and Wolfgang Niersbach (2012 to 2015) as well as former general secretary Horst R. Schmidt are accused. Like Franz Beckenbauer, who recently died, the trio was part of the organizing committee for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

What is the prosecution’s accusation?

A statement from the regional court states: “As part of their responsibilities at the time, the defendants are said to have caused tax returns to be submitted that were incorrect in terms of content, thereby resulting in corporate, trade and sales taxes as well as solidarity surcharge for 2006 amounting to over 13.7 million euros in favor of the DFB A payment of 6.7 million euros made in spring 2005 is said to have been claimed in the DFB’s annual financial statements as an operating expense for a World Cup gala, although it was actually based on a different purpose and the payment therefore did not reduce tax may be recorded.”

The “other purpose” remains obscure to this day. What we know: World Cup chief organizer Franz Beckenbauer borrowed the money from former Adidas boss Robert Louis-Dreyfus. The money ended up in the account of FIFA official Mohamed bin Hammam. Two and a half years later, the loan was repaid to Louis-Dreyfus by the DFB via FIFA.

What do the defendants say?

Niersbach, Zwanziger and Schmidt have always rejected the allegations. Zwanziger said before the start of the trial: “I’m pleased that this case will be clarified in a public main hearing for everyone to see. Then the truth will finally come to the table, and I don’t have to fear it.” Niersbach’s lawyers said: “The main hearing will show that the allegations made by the public prosecutor’s office are incorrect and legally baseless. At the end of this criminal case, which has lasted more than eight years, there can only be an acquittal of our client.”

What does Uli Hoeneß know?

Interestingly, Uli Hoeneß has hinted twice about the 6.7 million euro loan, as the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” writes. In September 2020, Hoeneß said on the football talk show “Doppelpass”: “I know for a fact that the money was not used to buy votes.” And further, when asked: “I think I’m the wrong person to explain this to you.”

A year later, he said something similar in Max-Jacob Ost’s podcast “11 Leben”: “I was a very close friend of Robert Louis-Dreyfus until his death, and I know pretty well what was going on back then, and it wasn’t corruption!”

In 2001, Dreyfus negotiated Adidas’ entry into FC Bayern AG with ten percent. The loan to Beckenbauer dates from this time. Dreyfus later lent Hoeneß the money with which he speculated on the stock market. Because Hoeneß did not pay tax on his winnings, he later ended up in prison.

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What role do Hoeneß’ statements play?

None so far. Apparently the public prosecutor’s office is not interested in Uli Hoeneß’s information because the trial is solely about the question of whether the DFB entered the sum incorrectly in the tax return. There will probably be no clarification of the affair, especially since the most important witnesses such as Beckenbauer and Dreyfus are now dead. Unless Hoeneß reveals his knowledge.

Does the verdict in the trial have an impact on the DFB?

Yes, because the tax authorities retroactively revoked the association’s non-profit status for 2006 in 2017 as a result of the affair. The DFB therefore had to pay around 22.5 million euros in back taxes. A lawsuit by the association against this decision is suspended at the financial court in Kassel until the end of the summer fairy tale trial – and will only have a chance of success if Zwanziger, Niersbach and Schmidt are acquitted.

tis with DPA

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