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Bayern president Hoeness to be tried on tax charge

November 4, 2013

MUNICH (AP) — Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness will go on trial in March on tax evasion charges.

Judges decided last week to admit the indictment against Hoeness and send the case to trial, the state court in Munich said Monday. Proceedings are scheduled to start March 10.

Prosecutors filed the charges in July, months after the 61-year-old Hoeness reported himself to authorities over a previously undeclared Swiss bank account. News of the case against Hoeness, one of the most prominent figures in German soccer, emerged in April.

The court set four sessions for the trial, through March 13, and said that plans so far call for four witnesses to testify. It did not identify them.

The court said it couldn’t give details of the indictment before it is read out in public at the trial because of tax secrecy laws. Munich prosecutors also have declined to say how much money is involved or give details.

In May, Bayern’s supervisory board backed Hoeness to remain in the job despite the investigation against him. The club said Hoeness apologized and offered to temporarily give up his functions pending the outcome of his case. But the board unanimously asked him to stay.

The case even prompted Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman to weigh in earlier this year, saying the country’s leader was disappointed in him.

Bayern hasn’t yet commented on the indictment.

Bayern won the Bundesliga, the Champions League and the German Cup last season. Under new coach Pep Guardiola, it is one point clear of Borussia Dortmund at the top of the league 11 matches into the season.

As a player, Hoeness was a Bayern star who won the 1972 European Championship and the 1974 World Cup with West Germany and three straight European Cups — the predecessor of the Champions League — before retiring in 1979 with chronic knee problems.

Under his guidance as general manager, Bayern built financial reserves rarely seen in debt-ridden European club soccer.

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