March 23, 2017 / 6:28 PM / 4 months ago

Beckenbauer questioned by Swiss prosecutors over World Cup bid

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Franz Beckenbauer, President of Germany's World Cup organising committee, holds a golden soccer ball during a presentation next to the Brandenburg gate in Berlin April 18, 2006.Tobias Schwarz/File Photo

ZURICH (Reuters) - Former German soccer great Franz Beckenbauer was questioned by Swiss prosecutors on Thursday as part of their investigation into his country's successful bid for the 2006 World Cup.

The Swiss Attorney General's Office (OAG) opened criminal proceedings against Beckenbauer and three other former high-ranking German soccer officials last September. The proceedings related to allegations of fraud, criminal mismanagement, money laundering and misappropriation.

The OAG confirmed in a statement to Reuters that "Franz Beckenbauer has today been interrogated by federal prosecutors of the Confederation... in Berne" adding that the 71-year-old had been "cooperative."

Beckenbauer has previously admitted to making mistakes but has denied wrongdoing.

Widely regarded as one of the game's finest players, he captained the West Germany team that won the 1974 World Cup and was coach when they won again in 1990.

The German football federation's own report into alleged irregularities over the awarding of the 2006 World Cup was published in March last year.

It said that, while there was no evidence of Germany paying FIFA members in return for votes, payments were made to at least one former FIFA official through a web of accounts involving several other firms or individuals, including Beckenbauer.

Writing by Brian Homewood, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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