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Hoeness 'could escape prison threat'

Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness could escape imprisonment and instead be sentenced to two years on parole for his alleged tax evasion, according to reports in the German media.

Six days after German tabloid Bild revealed that 61-year-old Hoeness is likely be charged by the Munich economic and tax criminal chamber after being investigated over the allegations, German weekly Der Spiegel said he may not face the prospect of prison.

Under German law, tax evasion of over €1 million is punished by a prison sentence but, according to the paper, Munich prosecutors may instead call for a two-year parole for Hoeness.

In January, 61-year-old Bayern president Hoeness filed a voluntary disclosure which showed he had not paid tax on a Swiss bank account.

Reports at the time suggested German prosecutors would decide in July whether or not he should face charges. In May, Hoeness offered to resign, but his offer was turned down by Bayern.

The Adidas CEO and Bayern Munich board member Herbert Hainer has told German news weekly Focus that, even if charges are brought against Hoeness, he should remain in his position at Bayern.

"I am of the opinion there is no one better for that position," Haider said. "I would not have necessarily expected the tax story, as he is one of the most caring and trustworthy persons I know.

"But the case shows that none of us is free from mistakes. We should therefore give Uli Hoeness a second chance. He knows best that has committed a monumental stupidity."