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SBD Global/March 11, 2014/Finance

Bayern Munich Boss Hoeneß Admits To Far Bigger Tax Dodge Than Charged With

Bayern Munich President Uli Hoeneß appears in court in Berlin on Monday.
Bayern Munich President Uli Hoeneß "stunned a German court on Monday by admitting he had evaded taxes" of €18.5M ($26M) using a secret Swiss bank account -- "more than five times the amount on a prosecutors' charge sheet," according to Jens Hack of REUTERS. Once one of Germany's "most admired managers," Hoeneß "apologised and appealed for leniency at the start of a trial in a case that shocked Germany and prompted other tax dodgers to turn themselves in." Hoeneß "could be sentenced to between five and 10 years in jail if convicted" of evading more than €1M ($1.4M) in taxes. Hoeneß said, "I'm glad that this is all out in the open now. I deeply regret my wrongdoing. I'm doing everything I can to put this unhappy chapter behind me." He paid €10M to the tax office in Jan. '13, and said that he "voluntarily alerted tax authorities then about his Swiss bank account and undeclared income." What is unclear is "whether he informed the tax office about his offence early enough or comprehensively enough to avoid jail" (REUTERS, 3/10). In London, Jeevan Vasagar reported the football exec "faces four days in court." A verdict "is expected on Thursday." Hoeneß declared his secret Swiss bank account after the collapse of a German-Swiss tax treaty "that would have allowed Germans with undeclared assets in Switzerland to pay a withholding tax while retaining anonymity." The deal with Switzerland "was blocked by the Social Democrats, who were in opposition at the time, because they were against tax evaders being allowed to retain anonymity." In recent weeks, feminist activist Alice Schwarzer and the Berlin city-government’s culture minister "have both made concessions about their tax affairs" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 3/10).
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