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Nov 4, 2013

Uli Hoeness to stand trial for tax evasion

Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness will go before a Munich district court in March 2014 over charges of tax evasion, the Higher Regional Court confirmed on Monday.

Hoeness could face imprisonment if found guilty of a tax evasion of over €1 million.
Hoeness could face imprisonment if found guilty.

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Hoeness filed a voluntary disclosure in January 2013 that showed he had not paid tax on money in a Swiss bank account. After a widespread and public discussion over the issue of taxation in Germany and whether or not Hoeness' position at Bayern remained tenable, prosecutors charged the 61-year-old with tax evasion in late July 2013.

After reviewing the response of Hoeness' legal team, the Higher Regional Court in Munich announced it will press charges.

The trial will begin on March 10 next year, with the court expecting it to last four days.

"In a resolution from Oct. 31, the fifth criminal chamber of Munich's district court has allowed all charges from July 30, 2013, as they stand," a press release read.

Hoeness' defence had argued that the voluntary disclosure in January could lead to impunity, although it was incomplete. Under German law, filing a voluntary disclosure usually allows the alleged offender to avoid punishment. However, if it is not filed correctly or is incomplete, prosecutors are able to press charges.

"I am very surprised that our voluntary disclosure has been declared non-effective by the authorities," Hoeness is quoted as saying by SportBild

In another press release, Bayern announced that Hoeness is to remain chairman of the supervisory board despite the opening of a full trial.

Backed by a legal opinion, the press release underlined Hoeness' services for the club and that "he is an important leader for FC Bayern" as well as highlighting two recent polls -- in which Hoeness was backed by the vast majority of the club's members -- as the main reasons for the decision.

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