By Andreas Kröner
FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German police raided the Frankfurt headquarters of Germany's football association (DFB) on Tuesday and searched the private homes of officials on suspicion of tax evasion linked to the awarding of the 2006 World Cup, prosecutors said.
The raid is focused on a 6.7 million euro ($7.4 million) payment the DFB made in 2005 to world soccer's governing body FIFA, which prosecutors said they suspected the association of failing to register in tax returns.
According to a report in magazine Der Spiegel, the money was used to buy votes in favour of Germany's successful bid for the 2006 tournament.
The DFB has strongly denied the claims it bought the 2006 tournament. Repeatedly contacted by Reuters, it declined to comment on Tuesday's tax raid.
"Prosecutors in Frankfurt have opened investigations on suspicion of serious tax evasion linked to the awarding of the football championship in 2006 and the transfer of 6.7 million euros of the organising committee for the German Football Association (DFB) to the FIFA football association," the prosecutor said in a statement.
(Reporting by Andreas Kroener in Frankfurt and Madeline Chambers; Writing by Karolos Grohmann; editing by John Stonestreet)