MUNICH — Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness was found guilty Thursday and sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison for evading millions of euros in tax through an undeclared Swiss bank account.
The 62-year-old Hoeness, one of the most powerful figures in German soccer, was initially charged with dodging €3.5 million ($4.85 million) in taxes through the Swiss account.
But when his trial opened Monday he admitted to avoiding €15 million more. Then it came out through an examination of documents he provided to investigators shortly before the trial that he owed €27.2 million in total — a number Hoeness did not dispute.
Hoeness had faced up to 10 years in prison, and the sentence came between the 5 1/2 years suggested by the prosecution and the defense’s plea for probation, based on the fact that Hoeness had turned himself in for tax evasion and provided details to the court, the dpa news agency reported.
Following the verdict, defense attorney Hanns Feigen said he would appeal the decision to see how a higher court would value Hoeness’ “not ideal” confession. He added that he was convinced the appeals court would come to a “better result” than the Munich state court did.
Hoeness will remain free on bail pending the outcome of the appeal.
Bayern has been enjoying unprecedented success under Hoeness’ presidency. The club stood by him during the investigation, and its supervisory board was expected to meet following the verdict to see what steps to take next.
Bayern Munich said it would issue a statement later Thursday.