Former FIFA secretary general Urs Linsi has been added to the list of suspects as part of the Swiss investigation into alleged corruption at world football’s governing body.
The Office of the Swiss Attorney General (OAG) confirmed that Linsi, number two at the organisation from 2002 until 2007, had been implicated with the probe in connection with an alleged slush fund of €6.7 million (£5.7 million/$7.1 million).
It was allegedly used to bribe members of FIFA’s ruling Executive Committee in the 2006 World Cup bid race, won by Germany.
The OAG also said in a statement that a number of house searches in the German-speaking part of Switzerland were conducted last week as part of the ongoing investigation into how the country secured the hosting rights for FIFA’s quadrennial showpiece.
An undisclosed loan was made by former Adidas chief executive Robert Louis-Dreyfus to the country's Bid Committee in 2000, but never appeared on accounts, according to German publication Der Spiegel.
Linsi joins a list of suspects which also includes FIFA Council member Wolfgang Niersbach, currently serving a one-year ban for ethics breaches, and Franz Beckenbauer, the World Cup winning captain and coach who led the Organising Committee for the 2006 tournament.
Others implicated in the criminal probe are Theo Zwanziger, who used to be a member of the Executive Committees of both UEFA and FIFA, and ex-German Football Association (DFB) secretary general Horst Schmidt.
"The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland confirms that on November 23, 2016 it conducted house searches with the support of the Federal Office of Police at various locations in the German-speaking part of Switzerland," the statement read.
"The measures were carried out as part of the investigations relating to a payment of EUR 6.7 million made in April 2005 by the German Football Association to Robert Louis-Dreyfus.
"The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland opened criminal proceedings on November 6, 2015 in connection with this payment.
"The criminal proceedings relate primarily to allegations of fraud (Art. 146 Swiss Criminal Code (SCC)), criminal mismanagement (Art. 158 SCC), money laundering (Art. 305bis SCC) and misappropriation (Art. 138 SCC).
"The suspects, Horst Rudolf Schmidt, Theo Zwanziger, Franz Beckenbauer and Wolfgang Niersbach, were members of the executive board of the organising committee for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
"A further suspect is Urs Linsi, who at the time was the General Secretary of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).
"The measures carried out on 23 November 2016 relate to Urs Linsi."
An independent report into the accusations, commissioned by the DFB and conducted by law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which was published in March, found no clear evidence that votes were bought but also suggested the possibility cannot be ruled out due to the amount of files and documents that could not be obtained.