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Canada Suspected tax evasion: raid on the DFB - Ex-President Grindel among the accused

16:05  07 october  2020
16:05  07 october  2020 Source:   handelsblatt.com

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It said six unnamed former and current officials of the DFB were suspected of having intentionally falsely declared "Based on the investigation until now there is the suspicion that those accused knew of the tax incorrectness but Reinhard Grindel , who was president in 2016-2019, resigned

German prosecutors and tax authorities raided DFB offices and homes in a tax evasion investigation(Reuters). "Based on the investigation until now there is the suspicion that those accused knew of the tax incorrectness but consciously did it to give DFB a major tax advantage.

The public prosecutor's office has searched business premises and apartments of current and former responsible persons. It is about serious tax evasion.

Der frühere DFB-Präsident zählt zu den Beschuldigten. © dpa The former DFB President is one of the accused.

The German Football Association has again trouble in tax matters. The Frankfurt public prosecutor's office searched the association's business premises and private apartments of six current and former DFB officials on Wednesday.

The prosecutors suspect the officials of serious tax evasion. In 2014 and 2015, they are said to have deliberately incorrectly declared income from perimeter advertising from home international matches of the national soccer team as income from asset management, "so that the DFB escaped taxation of around 4.7 million euros", said the Frankfurt public prosecutor's office.

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It said six unnamed former and current officials of the DFB were suspected of having intentionally falsely declared "Based on the investigation until now there is the suspicion that those accused knew of the tax incorrectness but Reinhard Grindel , who was president in 2016-2019, resigned

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As a registered association, the DFB is given special tax law treatment. While income from asset management is tax-free, income from commercial operations is taxable.

According to information from Handelsblatt , one of the six accused is the former DFB President and Ex-Treasurer Reinhard Grindel . Grindel reacted calmly when asked. He confirmed that the investigators were standing in front of his door. He assumes that he is accused because he signed the questionable tax return in his capacity as treasurer.

The demarcation between tax-privileged asset management and commercial business operations had been an issue in the DFB for a long time. But he relied on what the auditors and tax advisors had told him. "I acted to the best of my knowledge and belief," Grindel told the Handelsblatt. He left all documents from his time at the DFB in Frankfurt.

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Grindel was treasurer from 2013 to 2016 and then became the successor to DFB President Wolfgang Niersbach, who stumbled over the summer affair. In spring 2019, Grindel resigned after he came under fire for the controversial acceptance of a luxury watch as a gift from a Ukrainian oligarch.

The DFB itself has not yet been available to answer questions, as has a lawyer who accompanies the association on tax issues.

Around 200 officials from the tax investigation department, the Federal Criminal Police Office and the Federal Police were involved in the search measures in four federal states. “The searches have been going on since this morning. Due to the large number of objects that are searched, the end of the measure is not yet in sight, "said a spokeswoman for the Frankfurt public prosecutor's office in the morning when asked.

The promotion is limited to Germany . There are no searches in Switzerland. This is where the Infront company has its headquarters, which for many years marketed perimeter advertising for the DFB. The spokeswoman did not name the accused, as the public prosecutor's office basically practiced. But she confirmed that some of the officials were high-ranking.

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Credible information of tax evasion ; for instance, any evasion coming out of reports received from the Carry out personal search of a person who is suspected to have secreted some item as One can lawfully avoid a tax raid by being compliant in terms of responding to summons and notices sent

Dispute between DFB and Infront

The sports rights marketer Infront and the DFB recently parted ways. The association announced at the end of June that it would end its cooperation with the Swiss company. The association justified the step with a report from a consulting firm commissioned by the DFB, which found “clear irregularities” and “unlawful interference with DFB representatives” in the business relationship with Infront.

At its core is the accusation that two marketing contracts for perimeter advertising ended up with Infront in a questionable manner and that DFB employees at the time received consideration. At least one employee from the audiovisual rights division had to leave the association.

Initially, Infront did not acknowledge the termination of the contract. The parties then reached an agreement in mid-September. In a joint declaration it was said that the 40-year collaboration had ended “by mutual agreement” and that any remaining financial obligations had been settled.

Part of the dispute between the DFB and Infront was another point: in 2019 it became known that in several international matches of the German national team, instead of the agreed 30 seconds of advertising, only 29 seconds ran across the boards. This would theoretically have allowed six more advertising slots over a total playing time of 90 minutes.

The mistrust is huge

 The mistrust is huge Not prosecutors who love the big appearance are a problem for the DFB, but the bad image that it constantly gives off. A comment on the tax affair at the DFB by editor-in-chief Jörg Jakob. © picture alliance The public prosecutor's office searched the business premises of the DFB on suspicion of tax evasion. tax investigators drive up in front of private houses and the association headquarters.

Infront saw itself as the victim of a single ex-employee who resold the seconds and enriched himself with them. This representation raises questions, however, since in the technical implementation of the perimeter advertising in the stadium there is never only one person involved and the fraud should have been noticed. The DFB rejected any guilt.

The DFB has had legal and tax problems repeatedly in recent years. The most serious one to date: In 2017, the tax authorities demanded an additional tax payment of at least 19.2 million euros from the world's largest sports association. This was the result of the processing of the 2006 soccer World Cup, which is suspected of having been bought.

The tax office had revoked the non-profit status of the DFB for 2006. The background was the repayment of an ominous loan of 6.7 million euros, which the DFB made in 2005 through the world association Fifa to ex-Adidas boss Robert Louis-Dreyfus and of which it is still not clear what the money was really for . In its tax return, the DFB recorded the payment as a contribution to costs for a World Cup gala, which never took place. The DFB regards the issue as an operating issue to this day.

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DFB rejects allegations after the raid - "Very shaken" .
The German Football Association and President Fritz Keller are vigorously on the offensive after the tax raid - and sharply criticize the media-effective appearance of the authorities. © Roland Weihrauch / dpa “Convinced of the innocence of those responsible at the DFB”: Fritz Keller, DFB President.

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