Trial in Frankfurt/Main: Summer fairy tale trial: Ex-DFB trio hopes for acquittal

Trial in Frankfurt/Main: Summer fairy tale trial: Ex-DFB trio hopes for acquittal

At the beginning of the trial, the defendants in the Summer Fairy Tale trial rejected the accusation of tax evasion.

At the start of the summer fairy tale trial against former DFB officials Theo Zwanziger, Wolfgang Niersbach and Horst R. Schmidt, their lawyers strictly rejected the accusation of tax evasion made by the public prosecutor’s office in a particularly serious case.

“Tax evasion in 2006 is ruled out,” said Schmidt’s lawyer Tilman Reichling in his opening statement. The public prosecutor’s office has also “more than quadrupled” the tax damage allegedly incurred since 2015 in order to inflate the proceedings, Reichling said.

At that time, the public prosecutor’s office estimated the tax damage at 2.7 million euros. In the indictment read out at the opening of the hearing, the public prosecutor accused the three defendants of tax evasion amounting to 13.7 million euros in 2006.

As a result, a payment of 6.7 million euros made to the world association FIFA in April 2005, which was used to repay a personal loan from Franz Beckenbauer to the French entrepreneur Robert Louis-Dreyfus in 2002, was inadmissibly declared as a business expense in the 2006 tax return been made.

The German Football Association was therefore retroactively stripped of its non-profit status for the year in question. The association had to pay around 22.5 million euros in back taxes in 2017. A lawsuit brought by the association at the Kassel Finance Court was suspended until the end of the summer fairy tale process.

According to Zwanziger’s lawyer Hans-Jörg Metz, the investigation gave the impression that the public prosecutor’s office was more concerned with “prosecuting celebrities than with finding out the truth. Apart from speculation, we find nothing in the investigation files. The prerequisites and perpetrators are missing for tax evasion,” he said.

Niersbach’s lawyer Renate Verjans criticized the fact that this procedure had even taken place on the orders of the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court. Last year, the Higher Regional Court overturned the district court’s decision to discontinue the case in 2022 and restarted the proceedings. “It is astonishing that we are sitting here more than eight years after the investigation began,” said Verjans and expressed the expectation that Niersbach would “get justice” with an acquittal.

Source: Stern

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