Bayern Munich President Uli Hoeness On Trial For Tax Evasion

Uli HoenessBERLIN — Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness admitted Monday to dodging millions of euros (dollars) in taxes through an undeclared Swiss bank account at a trial that could see one of the most powerful figures in German soccer receive a lengthy prison sentence.

Prosecutor Achim von Engel told the Munich state court that Hoeness evaded €3.5 million ($4.9 million) in taxes by concealing €33 million in income in the Swiss bank account, the dpa news agency reported.

Hoeness reported himself to authorities in early 2013, and the court will have to determine whether he did that because he had become aware there was an investigation against him or for other reasons, which will affect the sentence he receives. If found guilty he faces anything from a fine to 10 years in prison.

No pleas are entered in the German system. But as the trial opened, Hoeness, who also is part owner of a Nuremberg sausage factory, said he had hoped to avoid the case going to court by reporting himself to authorities.

“I evaded taxes,” he told the court. “I’m aware that reporting myself doesn’t change this fact.”

Hoeness’ attorney, Hanns Feigen, volunteered that his client had evaded far more than charged, saying the total figure was €18.5 million.

Hoeness told the court he was glad that all the details were “transparently on the table.”

“I deeply regret my wrongdoing,” he said. “I will do everything necessary to ensure that this depressing chapter for me is closed.”

The Bayern boss said he had used the Swiss bank account to trade stocks, conducting tens of thousands of transactions between 2001 and 2010.

Hoeness noted that he had donated millions of euros to charities.

“I’m no social parasite,” he told the court.

Four days have been scheduled for hearings, with a verdict expected on Thursday.

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