German football World Cup winner Uli Hoeness is set for a prison term and has resigned as as president of Bayern Munich football club and chairman of the business behind it.
The 62-year-old former Germany striker and Bayern star has accepted the guilty verdict and prison term for tax evasion handed down to him by a Munich court on Thursday.
“After discussions with my family I have decided to accept the ruling of the Munich court on my tax affairs. This befits my understanding of decency, dignity and personal responsibility. Tax evasion was the biggest mistake of my life,” he wrote in a statement on the club’s website.
The football legend added Bayern Munich was his life’s work and he wanted to spare the club any damage.
The court found him guilty of “seven serious counts of tax evasion” and sentenced him to three years and six months in prison.
It emerged he owed a total of 27.2 million euros. Hoeness admitted defrauding German tax authorities of millions of euros which had been kept in a secret Swiss bank account. Until the trial it was unclear of the exact total.
Analysts say the sentence reflects a change in attitude in Germany towards tax evasion since the financial crisis. It’s been revealed a number of famous people have had secret bank accounts.
Hoeness, who was in the German side which won the European Championship in 1972 and then the World Cup two years later could be the first to go to prison.