MUNICH: A shadow has been over Bayern Munich’s record-breaking season and tomorrow’s Champions League against Barcelona by a distraction over the tax affairs of Uli Hoeness writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Bayern’s 61-year-old president has issued a statement confirming that he had reported himself to the German authorities for tax evasion concerning an account in Switzerland.
Hoeness, always forthright in his opinions, has been held up frequently as a business example by the likes of Chancellor Angela Merkel.
He said: “”I have I filed a voluntary disclosure about the account to my accountant at the tax office in January 2013. I trust fully in the work of the authorities involved in the case and ask for there to be respectful refrain from further inquiries.”
That latter request has gone unheeded by the German media which has delved further into the issue and not hesitated to recall a radio interview last autumn in which Hoeness spoke out on tax rates, wealth, local government spending, the state of the roads and parliamentary elections.
Now 61, Hoeness rose from being a World Cup-winner with West Germany and a world, European and national champion with Bayern Munich to become the club’s general manager and now president and probably the most powerful man in German football.
World Soccer interview
Hoeness undertook a remarkable ESM interview with this writer, ranging over a wide swathe of football topics, which is published in the current May edition of World Soccer.
Local media has reported that the history of this affair goes back to 2000 when Hoeness was loaned between €10m and €15m by the then Adidas boss Robert Louis-Dreyfus to invest in the stock market. An account was opened at the Zurich-based Bank Vontobel AG.
The profits were apparently taxed in Switzerland but not as capital gains tax in Germany even though a number of tax amnesties offered generally to investors came and went.
This past January, apparently, Hoeness declared the account and the sums involved to the German tax authorities which have opened their own inquiry.
Some commentators have suggested Hoeness did so after learning of inquiries by an investigative magazine. This has not been confirmed and it is assumed his advisers will seek to negotiate a settlement with the German tax office.
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