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Ex-DFB president Theo Zwanziger 'delighted' over tax investigation

Former DFB president Theo Zwanziger has welcomed the investigations against him, Wolfgang Niersbach and former DFB general secretary Horst R. Schmidt.

The German Football Association (DFB) headquarters as well as the private properties of the trio -- all high-ranking officials of the 2006 World Cup organising committee (OK) -- were raided on Tuesday morning over an alleged €6.7 million payment made to FIFA in connection with voting for the 2006 World Cup.

"I am delighted it happened. I don't have any worries in that matter. I know that I tell the truth and that I don't have to fear anything," Zwanziger, OK's financial chief, told reporters in his hometown Diez on Tuesday afternoon. "It's better this way than through a commission of inquiry or people who are dependent."

The DFB released a statement saying: "The search is limited to the suspicion of a tax-related offence. The DFB itself is not defendant." It added that documents were seized during the search.

The investigation was started because of doubtful tax return filed by the DFB and the Frankfurt prosecutors said in their statement released on Tuesday that the association paid much lower taxes after falsely declaring a €6.7m payment made to FIFA as operating costs.

The 2005 payment of the OK was signed off by Theo Zwanziger and Horst R. Schmidt and the DFB has said it was intended for a FIFA cultural programme.

Last month, Der Spiegel reported that the German World Cup bid committee had set up €6.7m slush fund, and used it to secure the votes of the four Asian members of the FIFA Executive Committee for the right to host the 2006 tournament.

DFB president Niersbach, who has yet to comment on the latest developments, said a fortnight ago that the money was paid to FIFA in 2002 by the late former adidas CEO Robert Louis-Dreyfus and was used to release a grant of €170m for the organisation of the tournament.

Niersbach claimed that he did not have any knowledge of the 2002 payment until this summer. He also said that the deal was struck between Beckenbauer and suspended FIFA president Sepp Blatter during a private meeting. Though Blatter has denied any knowledge of, or involvement in, the payment.

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