Ex-FIFA Official Confirms $7.3m Bribe From Germany

Mohamed bin Hammam
Mohamed bin Hammam
$7.3 million was transferred in 2002, from a World Cup organizing committee account to a company controlled by bin Hammam

Former Qatari FIFA official Mohamed bin Hammam has admitted he received a payment from a World Cup organizing committee account after the awarding hosting of the 2006 World Cup to Germany. However, he denied the money was a bribe.

Mohamed bin Hammam, who was banned for life from football in 2011 in connection with allegations of vote-buying, said he had received a €6.7 million ($7.3 million) payment only after a decision had been made to award Germany the hosting of the tournament, DW reported on its website.

A former vice president of FIFA, bin Hammam, told German broadcaster ZDF’s ‘Sportreportage’ program that the sum had not been connected with the decision to let Germany stage the event.

“The €6.7 million have gone into my account, yes,” bin Hammam said. “But I would like to know why Germany should have bribed me for something they have already received.”

The decision on where the 2006 World Cup should be held was made in 2000. The sum was transferred in 2002, from a World Cup organizing committee account to a company controlled by bin Hammam.

The World Cup committee account was controlled by German football legend Franz Beckenbauer and his now deceased manager, Robert Schwan.

When asked if the payment was linked to Germany being awarded the event, bin Hammam said: “I do not know. No, of course I know, but excuse me - it’s only you who cares, no one else.”

The head of the German Football Association (DFB), Reinhard Grindel, told the German weekly sports magazine Sport Bild last December that he wanted to meet bin Hammam in Qatar to discuss the payment. Grindel said at the time that he had yet to receive a response.

Beckenbauer has denied that any bribes were paid in connection with the 2006 World Cup. He has said Germany’s World Cup organizers wanted to secure the payment of an organizational cost subsidy from FIFA, although that claim has been denied by former FIFA President Joseph Blatter.

In November 2015, Swiss prosecutors opened criminal proceedings against Beckenbauer and former DFB officials Wolfgang Niersbach, Theo Zwanziger and Horst R. Schmidt.

In the ZDF interview, bin Hammam also distanced himself from allegations that the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar was tainted. “They do not affect me at all,” said Bin Hammam. “These are just allegations and remain allegations.”

 Bribes for Votes

German news magazine ‘Der Spiegel’ has reported further revelations in the alleged bribes-for-votes scandal surrounding Germany’s hosting of the 2006 World Cup. A consultancy contract has raised several questions.

Just 13 days before Germany was awarded the 2006 World Cup, the Munich-based World Cup TV rights holders KirchMedia signed a million-dollar contract with an influential Lebanese lobbyist, ‘Der Spiegel’ reported on Friday.

Elias Zaccour was to receive payment of $1 million for consultancy work on film rights - an area in which he had no previous experience. The now-deceased businessman was known to be very close to key members of the FIFA executive council Jack Warner and bin Hammam.

It was the second such deal between KirchMedia and Zaccour. The first, also of $1 million, has been public knowledge since 2003. Zaccour was due to be paid the day after FIFA announced which country would host the tournament.

Former KirchMedia CEO Dieter Hahn told Der Spiegel he could “no longer remember details” of a deal that took place 15 years ago. As rights holders, KirchMedia had a vested interest in having the World Cup in Germany.

Both Jack Warner and Mohammed bin Hammam play major roles in the ongoing affair that Der Spiegel broke in October 2015. Central to the allegations is an alleged slush fund held by a firm belonging to bin Hammam.

The money was reportedly used by the bid committee to buy votes for Germany. DFB is known to have agreed a contract with Warner during the bidding process, which was alleged to have guaranteed him 1,000 top-category tickets, amongst other benefits.

The scandal engulfed German soccer legend Franz Beckenbauer, the head of the World Cup bid, and cost former DFB President Wolfgang Niersbach his job.

German and Swiss authorities are continuing their investigations.

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