FRANKFURT: Urs Linsi, former general secretary of world football federation FIFA, is reportedly under investigation by the German prosecutor’s office in its investigation into the 2006 World Cup finances writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Linsi was in charge of FIFA’s financial administration in the years before and during the finals in Germany which are the centre of controversy over a mysterious payment of €6.7m.

Former German federation presidents Wolfgang Niersbach and Theo Zwanziger and previous DFB secretary Horst R Schmidt are all under investigation over allegations of possible tax evasion.

Niersbach, a former member of the FIFA and UEFA executive committees, has been banned from football for a year for his muddled response when the payment came to light two years ago.

A payment of €6.7m was made to the bid committee ahead of the hosting award by the late businessman Robert Louis-Dreyfus. Later a similar sum was paid to the German organisers by FIFA for an opening gala which never took place.

The money appears to have routed on then to the Qatari Mohamed bin Hamman, then president of the Asian confederation and a member of the FIFA executive.

Bin Hammam was later banned for life over an unrelated issue.

Cost-cutting role

Linsi, now 68, was appointed by FIFA to undertake a cost-cutting exercise by then president Sepp Blatter in 2002 and proved increasingly unpopular with staff before his eventual replacement by Frenchman Jerome Valcke in 2007.

He was reported relieved of his duties at the price of an CHF8m payoff.

Linsi has been reported by German media as having been involved in the communication exchanges with the German World Cup operation which was headed by Franz Beckenbauerm along with Niersbach, Schmidt and Zwanziger.

The Swiss Federal Prosecutor’s Office is also investigating Linsi’s role because the monies were transferred via a Swiss account.

All involved have denied wrongdoing and no charges have been brought.