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SBD Global/April 22, 2013/People and Pop Culture

Bayern Munich President Hoeneß Admits To Swiss Account, Could Face Tax Fraud Charges

Bayern Munich President ULI HOENEß "has said that he has filed amended tax returns, admitting to a Swiss bank account," according to the DEUTSCHE WELLE. Hoeneß said that "he had filed an amended tax return in January of this year, and that public prosecutors are now looking at the football luminary's records." Hoeneß: "I handed in an amended return at the finance ministry via my tax consultant in January 2013 to an account of mine in Switzerland." The senior public prosecutor in Munich, KEN HEIDENREICH, said his office had begun investigations as a result of the corrected tax return, conducting an "analysis of the efficacy and the completeness of the amended return." Under German law, filing an amended return "can reduce levels of culpability and back payments in the event of tax avoidance." This partial amnesty "is subject to a string of conditions though." Hoeneß said he had "originally" planned to solve the issue of his Swiss bank account under the terms of a bilateral deal between Germany and Switzerland, "which then failed to come into being in December 2012, as we know." This deal, approved by German Chancellor ANGELA MERKEL's coalition government and ratified in Switzerland, "was rejected by Germany's opposition Social Democrats, Greens and Left Party in the Bundesrat upper house of parliament" -- where the opposition currently holds a controlling influence. The left-leaning German parties "objected to several terms of the deal, including a promise of continued anonymity for people using the bilateral pact to pay German tax on their assets in Switzerland." Merkel "sought to salvage the deal in a special last-gasp administration process, where it was again rejected by the opposition." Club spokesperson MARKUS HÖRWICK said that "the Bavarian side did not want to comment on the story" (DEUTSCHE WELLE, 4/20).

QUESTIONING CREDIBILITY:  INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL's Paul Nicholson reported Transparency International Senior Advisor SYLVIA SCHENK said that Hoeneß's credibility and reputation is now put into question. Schenk: "The credibility of Hoeneß is extremely shaken. It will certainly be very hard for him to get out there again. If he attacks [FIFA President SEPP] BLATTER and asks that he cleans up his mess at FIFA, but at the same time he is evading German taxes, it is like throwing rocks in a glass house." Hoeneß "has generally been quick to criticise football's governing bodies and their leaders." He famously cricitized Blatter, saying that "he is not able to run FIFA and that if he (Hoeneß) led Bayern the way Sepp Blatter has organised FIFA, Bayern would not exist any more." And just last week he criticized UEFA for failing to "forcefully" implement its new Financial Fair Play rules (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 4/21). BILD reported Hoeneß has together with his self-indictment "paid an installment of close to €6M ($7.8M) on his tax liabilty." German tax union Exec Chair Thomas Eigenthaler concluded from it that "Hoeneß has not declared at least €10M ($13M) of income." Sources do not rule out that "the actual amount could be distinctively higher" (BILD, 4/21).
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