MUNICH, GERMANY (MARCH 13, 2014) (REUTERS) - Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness could be sentenced to five-and-a-half years in jail for evading millions of euros in taxes, state prosecutor Achim von Engel said on Thursday (March 13).
The prosecutor rejected Hoeness's defence that he should not be subjected to a criminal conviction and prison because he voluntarily disclosed that he evaded German taxes on income earned in secret Swiss bank accounts over the last decade.
The prosecutor could have sought up to 10 years in jail for Hoeness, 62. The case hinges on the question whether Hoeness, who played for West Germany when it won the World Cup in 1974, fully cooperated in his voluntary disclosure.
Judge Rupert Heindl is expected to announce the verdict later on Thursday. The Hoeness case has shocked the nation and prompted thousands of German tax dodgers to turn themselves in.
Bayern fans waiting for the verdict in front of the court building still hoped for Hoeness to avoid a prison sentence.
"As a Bayern fan of course I see the position of Uli Hoeness with the FC Bayern team as indispensable. And I hope that he will get out of it today. We now must see if it happens this way. The federal Supreme Court at some point ruled that you should go to jail from one million euros onwards. Here in Bavaria the clocks are ticking differently and therefore I hope, that this will be same for the Uli Hoeness trial."said fan Paul Bluem.
"And probably two, three years in prison, approximately," she added.
Tax evasion is a serious crime in Germany. Peter Graf, the late father of tennis championSteffi Graf, was sentenced in 1997 to three years and nine months in jail for evading 12.3 million marks (6.3 million euros). He was released after 25 months.