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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Feb 26, 2007

Hiddink's fate to be decided by Dutch court

AMSTERDAM -- Dutch soccer coach Guus Hiddink will know his fate on tax fraud charges when a court in the Netherlands delivers its ruling on Tuesday.

Hiddink, 50, who coaches the Russian national team, has been accused of evading almost 1.4 million euros ($1.84 million) in Dutch taxes while falsely claiming he was a resident of Belgium in 2002 and 2003 after he came back from his successful job with the South Korean national team.

On Feb. 6 prosecutors demanded he serve a 10-month jail sentence, dismissing his claims that he had been living in Belgium as "a joke".

From 2000 to 2002 Hiddink was in charge of the South Korean national side, guiding the World Cup co-hosts to fourth place at the finals. He then returned to the Netherlands and a coaching job with PSV Eindhoven.

Hiddink's tax advisor is also on trial and facing a possible jail term.

PHONE TAPS

Hiddink's case came to the attention of Dutch tax fraud inspectors after telephone conversations with a former PSV director were monitored by wire taps in a criminal investigation into the PSV director some years ago.

Hiddink's lawyer claimed that the cause for the investigation was not legitimate and that this was not a criminal case but a tax dispute that should have been handled by a special tax court.

Hiddink admitted that he never spent a night in his house in Belgium but also denied that he lived with his girlfriend in Amsterdam.

He said he had instead slept in a number of different places -- in hotels, at his girlfriend's home, at the training ground of PSV Eindhoven, whom he was also coaching at the time, and sometimes even behind the wheel of his car.

Hiddink also claimed that the fraud inspectors knew the details of his case before he made his tax return and that they should have warned him instead of waiting to start a criminal investigation.

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