Europe

Hoeness trial: Prosecution wants jail for Bayern boss

File photo of Uli Hoeness Image copyright AP
Image caption Despite the scandal, Uli Hoeness remains a very popular figure at the club he helped build up

German prosecutors are seeking a jail term of more than five years for Uli Hoeness, the president of European football champions Bayern Munich.

Mr Hoeness, 62, admitted in court to defrauding Germany's tax authorities of 18m euros (£15m; $25m).

His lawyer argued he should escape punishment because he gave himself up, but the prosecution said his confession fell short of full disclosure.

The sentencing in the high-profile case is expected later on Thursday.

The former World Cup-winning German international footballer, 62, kept the funds in a secret Swiss bank account.

Earlier this week, he told the court he deeply regretted his "wrongdoing".

"I will do everything necessary to ensure that this depressing chapter for me is closed," he said.

Backed by club

The prosecution was expected to demand a seven-year jail sentence, but has now called for five years and six months.

The former Germany forward, who helped the national team win the 1972 European Championship and then the World Cup two years later, came clean about his secret bank account last year, filing an amended tax return in the hope of an amnesty in return for paying the tax he owed.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Hoeness (right) has been instrumental in building up Bayern Munich into Europe's top football club
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Chancellor Angel Merkel was on good terms with Mr Hoeness before the scandal emerged

But prosecutors say he did so because investigators were already pursuing his case.

The case has been described as one of the most spectacular of the year by the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

Despite the tax evasion scandal, Mr Hoeness remains a very popular figure at the club he helped build up.

He offered his resignation at last year's annual meeting but was backed by the supporters and the club's board.

Bayern Munich refused to comment before the trial but said its chairman and former star Karl-Heinz Rummenigge would speak after the verdict.

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