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Prison sentence for FC Bayern Munich president

The German football icon had hoped to avoid prison by making a voluntary disclosure Reuters

Uli Hoeness, the president of Germany’s most prestigious football club, has been given a jail term for tax evasion relating to a secret Swiss bank account. A Munich regional court sentenced him to three and a half years in prison on Thursday.

This content was published on March 14, 2014 - 10:29
swissinfo.ch and agencies

The judge ruled Hoeness' voluntarily disclosure in January 2013 - that he had failed to pay taxes - was incomplete and did not meet a requirement needed for amnesty.

"The voluntary disclosure is not valid with documents that were presented alone," he said.

On Friday, Hoeness said he would not appeal the ruling and would step down immediately as club president and as the chairman of its supervisory board.

At the opening of the trial on Monday, Hoeness was charged by prosecutors with evading €3.5 million (CHF4.3 million) in taxes from trading profits.

However, the amount spiralled during the four days of the trial. Investigators put the amount to €27.2 million, which Hoeness' lawyers did not contest.

The 62-year-old former football star and businessman who partly owns a sausage factory apololgised in court and pleaded for leniency.

The public prosecutor had called for the Bayern Munich president to be jailed for five and a half years, due to the serious level of tax evasion committed.

Appeal

Thursday's sentencing marks the latest stage in the dramatic story of the most closely watched tax evasion case in German history.

Some 55,000 tax evaders have turned themselves in over the last four year and paid a total of about €3.5 billion in back tax, according to the German taxpayers association.

The number of voluntary disclosures rose four-fold in 2013 from the previous year.

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