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Sport

German FA says taxes in question had been paid since 2019

BERLIN (Reuters) - The German football federation (DFB) said on Thursday it had already paid taxes in 2019 related to advertising income that is currently being investigated by prosecutors for potential tax evasion.

German prosecutors and tax authorities and some 200 officers had searched DFB offices and private homes of current and former officials last week on suspicion of serious tax evasion.

Frankfurt’s prosecutors office had said six unnamed former and current DFB officials were suspected of having intentionally falsely declared income from advertising banners in stadiums during home games of the national team in 2014 and 2015 as income from asset management, leading to 4.7 million euros (4.26 million pounds) in unpaid taxes.

“What is clear is that on the issue of taxation of revenues from ad banners, there was already an understanding with the tax office since March 2019 and the DFB as a consequence paid all the relevant taxes,” the DFB said in a statement.

“The DFB had also since March 2019 without being requested to do so provided the Frankfurt prosecutors’ office with all the known documents in this process and had expressed its complete cooperation.”

The DFB does not pay taxes on any income from asset management but is obliged to do so on earnings from any commercial activities.

“We continue to be convinced of the innocence of those responsible,” DFB President Fritz Keller said following an internal presentation of an interim report on the case.

“The damage to the reputation for those involved as well as the DFB... shocks me personally.”

This is the latest in a series of legal cases that have tarnished the federation which was also investigated in relation to a suspected misuse of funds in relation to the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

Theo Zwanziger, DFB head from 2006-2012, and his successor Wolfgang Niersbach were investigated for years in Germany and Switzerland over those allegations. Both men have denied any wrongdoing. Niersbach resigned in 2015 over the 2006 scandal.

His own successor, Reinhard Grindel, who was president in 2016-2019 and DFB treasurer between 2013-15, resigned in 2019 over a gold watch he received as a gift during a meeting of European soccer body UEFA.

Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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