The headquarters of the German Soccer Federation and the residences of several of its leaders were raided early Wednesday as part of a tax evasion investigation.
About 200 officers were involved in the raids in the German states of Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse, Lower Saxony and Rhineland-Palatinate, the Frankfurt prosecutor's office reported.
“Investigations into alleged corporate fraud and tax evasion in particularly serious cases target six former or current DFB leaders,” said prosecutor Nadja Niesen, referring to the football federation. “They are accused of fraudulent declaration of income from the perimeter advertising posters for the matches of the national soccer team between 2014-2015 when reporting them as asset management.”
The federation is under suspicion of failing to pay 4.7 million euros (5.5 million dollars) for the period.
Federation president Fritz Keller said the federation “will cooperate fully” with the recent investigations.
“I support clearing everything up to have a clean future for soccer,” said Keller, who assumed the presidency of a federation badly hit by scandals in September 2019.
Keller's predecessor, Reinhard Grindel, resigned last April over allegations of failing to report income and accepting a 6,000-euro ($ 7,000) luxury watch from Russian oligarch Grigoriy Surkis – a former vice president and member of the executive committee of the UEFA.
Authorities did not identify the suspects linked to the raids on Wednesday.
Wolfgang Niersbach served as president of the federation at the time of the alleged tax evasion. Niersbach resigned in November 2015 after being implicated in financial mismanagement related to the organization of the 2006 World Cup.