Report Cannot Rule Out Vote-Buying for Germany World Cup

(ATR) A law firm suggests there is no evidence of Germany buying votes from FIFA members to stage the 2006 World Cup but can't prove it.

Freshfield's Christian Duve addresses a press conference with board members of the German Football Federation DFB to present the results of an internal inquiry on corruption allegations in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany, on March 4, 2016. 
The DFB presented the results of an internal investigation ordered at business law specialists Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer to audit their bid for the FIFA Football World Cup 2006. / AFP / DANIEL ROLAND        (Photo credit should read DANIEL ROLAND/AFP/Getty Images)
Freshfield's Christian Duve addresses a press conference with board members of the German Football Federation DFB to present the results of an internal inquiry on corruption allegations in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany, on March 4, 2016. The DFB presented the results of an internal investigation ordered at business law specialists Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer to audit their bid for the FIFA Football World Cup 2006. / AFP / DANIEL ROLAND (Photo credit should read DANIEL ROLAND/AFP/Getty Images)

(ATR) A report by an independent law firm suggests there is no evidence of Germany buying votes from FIFA members to stage the 2006 World Cup but says it isn’t 100 percent certain.

"We cannot prove that votes were bought, but we cannot rule this out either," international law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer spokesperson Christian Duve said Friday.

The 380-page report says it is unable to confirm there was no corruption involved due to a lack of evidence and the inability of the investigators to speak to all parties involved, including former FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

The report was commissioned by the DFB and investigates a payment of $7.3 million made by the DFB to FIFA in April 2005 that the DFB claimed last year was a return on a loan from former Adidas chairman Robert Louis-Dreyfus.

The 2016 World Cup organizing committee originally claimed the payment was money to be used for the opening gala of the tournament. Instead, Duve says the payment was transferred directly to a bank account of Louis-Dreyfus. Adidas says it is unaware of any such payment.

The report also detailed a series of payments totaling $11 million from 2006 World Cup organizing chief Franz Beckenbauer to former FIFA official and AFC president Mohamed Bin Hammam. The payments in 2002 were transferred from a Swiss bank account to a Qatar-based scaffolding company owned by Bin Hammam.

"They landed somewhere in Qatar, this (company) is under the influence of Bin Hammam," said Duve. "But anything beyond that is speculation. We had the task of presenting the facts. You could connect the payment with the FIFA re-election of Blatter or for the 2006 vote but that would be pure speculation."

Bin Hammam was banned from all football-related activities in December 2012. FIFA responded to the report saying it welcomed the findings.

"FIFA will review the report carefully and factor the findings into its ongoing internal investigation of this matter," world football said in a statement. "FIFA shared information with the DFB to assist with its investigation and, in turn, received information from the DFB that is helpful to FIFA’s own investigation. However, many questions still remain to be answered."

FIFA says it also has difficulties with its inquiry into the matter.

"FIFA’s investigation has been hampered by the fact that key witnesses were not willing to answer questions or provide documents. FIFA maintains its victim status in all investigations and continues to cooperate with the Swiss and German authorities, who are in the best position to obtain all of the information necessary to understanding the facts of this matter."

Interim president for the German FA Rainer Koch called this debacle a "complete failure of mechanisms at the DFB which cannot happen again".

Written by Kevin Nutley

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