Bayern Munich president, Uli Hoeness, admitted on Tuesday that he had hidden millions of Euros in a Swiss bank account to avoid paying tax.
According to The Associated Press. Hoeness is now accused of not paying 27.2 million Euros ($37.6 million) in taxes, up from the sum of 18.5 million Euros ($25.7 million) which he originally confessed to at the opening of his trial on Monday.
This figure was almost five times greater than the prosecution had expected.
Hoeness, 62, told the Munich court that he had hidden the money over a period of many years and that he had actually lost track of the full amount.
Because the defense had not challenged the latest figures. A court spokeswoman. Andrea Titz. said that a verdict could be expected as early as Thursday.
The judge, Rupert Heindl, was told by the tax authority than Hoeness had obstructed their investigation for over a year.
For reasons which are not clear at this time. Hoeness reported that he had been cheating on his taxes voluntarily. Presumably he hoped for a lighter punishment, which would not in include time in jail.
Uli Hoeness has been with Bayern Munich for 40 years, first as a player, then as team manager; he has been the club president since 2009.
This high profile case comes at a time when the attitude of the German public has moved against the well known practice of wealthy businessmen moving their money overseas to avoid the high level of taxation.
Thomas Oppermann, from the Social Democrats, said that he had been stunned at the scale of the evasion. Other politicians demanded that Hoeness resign his position as president of Bayern Munich immediately.
The Sueddeutsche Zeitung alleged that Hoeness only decided to confess because of the investigative reporting which would have discovered the truth eventually:
“It suggested Hoeness had decided to come clean. But it wasn’t so. Hoeness, more specifically his lawyer, knew the bubble would burst. That’s why they have now pricked it themselves.”
Another newspaper, the Flensburger Tageblatt, argued that a possible guilty verdict would resonate far and wide and would encourage citizens to rethink the finer details on their tax returns.
Since the Bayern Munich case first broke, the paper said, “it has already triggered a tsunami of self-reporting that has flushed millions into the state coffers.”
The maximum punishment for major tax fraud under German law is 10 years jail, although sentences are usually shorter and can be suspended.
One thing is certain; it will impossible in future to hear the words “Bayern Munich” without thinking of things other than their footballing performance.