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One of the greatest footballers ever is being investigated for suspected money laundering

The 70-year-old has previously said he made ‘a mistake’ regarding the bidding process for the 2006 World Cup.

Image: EMPICS Sports Photo Agency

ICONIC FORMER GERMAN football and manager Franz Beckenbauer is being investigated for fraud, criminal mismanagement and money laundering.

Swiss prosecutors revealed the news today, having opened an investigation into the tainted 2006 World Cup last year.

Three other German officials are being investigated: Theo Zwanziger, Horst Schmidt and Stefan Hans.

The tournament has been at the centre of controversy for a while.

German news magazine Der Spiegel first reported possible corruption late last year and claimed Beckenbauer – a World Cup winner as a player in 1974 and as a coach in 1990 – was central to it.

They alleged he was a crucial cog in a slush fund that was set up to ensure that Germany won the rights to host the competition. The money was used to buy four Asian votes with the German bid later holding off the challenge of South Africa.

Soccer FIFA Investigation Source: Associated Press

Beckenbauer was the head of the bid team and subsequently in charge of the organising committee.

Earlier this year, the DFB (German Football Federation) published details of their inquiry into the allegations and showed a myriad of suspect financial dealings. At the root of it was a sum of 6.7m euro that bounced from the rumoured slush fund to a Swiss bank account before being lodged in accounts of a Qatari company listed as being owned by the corrupt former Fifa ExCo member Mohammed Bin Hammam. He has denied ever receiving the money.

Subsequently, the DFB’s president and vice-president have both resigned after German prosecutors led investigations of suspected tax evasion against the organisation.

70-year-old Beckenbauer has previously said he made ‘a mistake’ regarding the bidding process for the 2006 tournament but denies the allegations of corruption and vote-buying.

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One of the greatest footballers of all time is facing huge questions about possible corruption

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