Prosecutors have dismissed claims they have already determined that Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness will avoid severe punishment in his tax evasion case.
Last week, Hoeness was officially charged after having filed a voluntary disclosure that showed he had not paid tax on money in a Swiss bank account. According to reports, the 61-year-old had failed to declare around €3.2 million, with those failing to pay tax on cash above €1 million liable to be imprisoned.
Under German law, filing a voluntary disclosure usually allows the offender to avoid punishment. However, if it is not filed correctly, or coincides with ongoing investigations into the person responsible, prosecutors are able to press charges.
The fifth criminal chamber of Munich’s district court will now decide whether a trial will be opened. This is not expected to occur before the end of September.
Currently, the dispute between Hoeness’ defence, who have a month to respond to the charges, and the prosecution is whether the voluntary disclosure had been filed correctly and on time.
Der Spiegel — which reported at the weekend that the voluntary disclosure may have been incomplete after having been filed in a rush in January — claimed Hoeness could expect a lenient sentence. The magazine reported that the majority of the undeclared funds would not be indictable due to time limits, and so Hoeness would only be charged over €900,000.
That would fall below the €1 million threshold for imprisonment, and Der Spiegel suggested the prosecution could therefore demand a two-year probation along with a heavy fine.
However, Munich prosecutors have told Süddeutsche Zeitung that it was "incorrect that they had already determined a concrete degree of penalty".