MUNICH: Uli Hoeness, president of world, European and German champions Bayern Munich, admitted to evading millions of euros in taxes through an undeclared Swiss bank account as his high-profile trial commenced in the city courts.
Proceedings started after the court, last November, decided to approve an indictment against Hoeness and send the case to trial.
Hoeness, one of the most influential figures in German football, was charged in July with tax evasion following the conclusion of months of investigations into the case.
Hoeness, who is a Bayern legend for his feats both on and off the pitch, admitted in April 2013 that he had voluntarily alerted tax authorities in January to a Swiss bank account he held. At the time, the 61-year-old maintained the account was personal in nature, created for his stock market trading, and had no links to club affairs at Bayern.
The German news agency DPA said that prosecutor Achim von Engel told the Munich court that Hoeness evaded €3.5m ($4.8m) in taxes by concealing €33m income in the Swiss bank account. However, Hoeness’ attorney, Hanns Feigen, volunteered that his client had evaded far more than charged, saying the total figure was €18.5m.
Addressing the court, Hoeness spoke of his satisfaction that all details were “transparently on the table.” He added: “I deeply regret my wrongdoing. I will do everything necessary to ensure that this depressing chapter for me is closed.”
Last May Bayern’s main board turned down an offer of resignation from Hoeness and has consistently maintained its support for the club’s president.
Hearings are expected to continue for the next three days with a verdict due on Thursday. If found guilty, Hoeness faces anything from a fine to 10 years in prison.