UPDATE 2-Soccer-Bayern chief Hoeness charged with tax evasion

Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:24pm EDT

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MUNICH, July 30 (Reuters) - Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness was charged with tax evasion on Tuesday after months of investigations into the high-profile affair were concluded, a Munich court said.

Hoeness, the face of Bayern Munich for many years, stunned Germany in April by saying he had voluntarily alerted tax authorities in January to a Swiss bank account he held, throwing the former West Germany international's future into doubt.

"A charge has been lifted against Ulrich H. for tax evasion," Munich regional court spokeswoman Andrea Titz told Reuters Television.

"The defendant has now four weeks time to respond to this charge which was handed personally to him today," she said.

She said it was now up to the court to decide whether to accept the charges and set a date for a trial.

Hoeness, who could face a jail sentence but hopes for leniency after naming himself as a tax evader, has said the account had nothing to do with Bayern.

He said it was a personal account, created for his stock market trading. He admitted to gambling bigger and bigger amounts and taking a major hit as the dotcom bubble burst.

The 61-year-old told reporters last week, after weeks of silence, that he was optimistic the matter would have a "relatively good end."

Bayern, who enjoyed their greatest success by winning the treble amid the furore of the affair this year, have stuck with their president, turning down an offer from Hoeness to step down.

Hoeness, who had his villa on a Bavarian lake searched by authorities in March, has been at Bayern for more than 40 years, having served as a player during the 1970s, a period of great success.

A World Cup and European championship winner with Germany, Hoeness, who also won three European Cups as a player at Bayern, spent 30 years as the team's general manager before being elected president of the Bundesliga's richest and most successful club.

German car maker Audi and sports equipment manufacturer Adidas , who both own stakes in the club, did not comment on the charges when contacted by Reuters. Bayern team officials could not be immediately reached for a reaction.

(Additional reporting by Christine Soukenka and Joern Poltz in Munich) (Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Clare Fallon)

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