By Erik Kirschbaum
A German court convicted Uli Hoeness of tax evasion on Thursday and sentenced the soccer manager who turned Bayern Munich into one of the world’s most successful clubs to 3-1/2 years in jail.
Prosecutors had argued that Hoeness’s voluntary disclosure – that he had failed to pay taxes – was incomplete and thus did not meet a vital requirement needed for amnesty under German tax laws designed to encourage tax evaders to come clean.
Hoeness has admitted he evaded 27.2 million euros in taxes on income earned in secret Swiss bank accounts but the 62-year-old soccer manager was hoping for leniency in one of the most closely watched tax evasion cases in German history.
The case hinged on the question whether Hoeness, who as a player helped West Germany win the 1974 World Cup, fully cooperated with his voluntary disclosure. It shocked the nation and prompted thousands of tax dodgers to turn themselves in.