Tax cheat Hoeness wants different jail due security fears: report

BERLIN Mon May 12, 2014 8:56am EDT

Bayern Munich's former President Uli Hoeness leaves the stage during an extraordinary general meeting of the German Bundesliga first division soccer club in Munich May 2, 2014. REUTERS/Lukas Barth

Bayern Munich's former President Uli Hoeness leaves the stage during an extraordinary general meeting of the German Bundesliga first division soccer club in Munich May 2, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Lukas Barth

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BERLIN (Reuters) - Former Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness, convicted in March of evading $40 million in taxes, has filed a formal protest about his jail due to security and privacy fears, a German magazine reported on Monday.

Hoeness's lawyers filed an objection to Bavarian state plans to send the 62-year-old to the Landsberg prison because 157 reporters were allowed to tour the 114-year-old facility shortly after his conviction, Focus magazine reported.

Hoeness is worried that guards or fellow inmates could peddle information or pictures to media, the magazine said.

A spokesman for the state prosecutor's office in Munich said he could not comment on the report.

"We don't comment on how prison assignments are carried out," the spokesman said when asked about the Focus report on Hoeness. "The person concerned will be invited to report to a certain prison at some point."

Hoeness was convicted on March 16 of tax evasion in one of the most spectacular cases of fraud in German history. He was supposed to spend the next 3-1/2 years in the Landsberg prison 70 km (45 miles) west of Munich, which once housed Adolf Hitler.

Landsberg officials took journalists on a March 31 tour of the prison, where Hitler dictated his book "Mein Kampf" to Rudolf Hess after being convicted for his failed 1923 beer hall putsch. Its 420 inmates include murderers, drug-dealers and sex offenders.

Once Germany's most famous soccer boss, Hoeness was convicted of evading 28.5 million euros in taxes on income earned in a secret Swiss bank account. He hoped in vain his voluntary disclosure would lead to a suspended sentence.

LOOKING TO LANDSHUT

Focus magazine quoted sources close to the former West Germany player saying: "It's looking good that Uli Hoeness will not have to go to Landsberg."

It said Hoeness could end up in the more modern facility in Landshut that has fewer inmates serving out sentences for violent crimes. The Landshut prison also has single cells, better food and flat-screen TVs, Bild newspaper reported.

Focus added Hoeness friends "worry that guards or prisoners (at Landsberg) could be lured by money into selling exclusive information about the nation's biggest celebrity prisoner."

The Munich-based magazine said Hoeness believes he will not have to stay in jail long when his term starts in late May.

"Uli is confident that he'll be allowed to leave prison during the daytime hours after just three or four months," Focus said, referring to German rules that allow prisoners with good behavior out of jail during the day to work.

Hoeness, who helped West Germany win the 1974 World Cup, resigned as chairman of the supervisory board and president of Bayern Munich a day after his conviction.

During his 35 years at Bayern Munich, Hoeness turned the club into a perennial powerhouse that won last year's Champions League and dominates the German Bundesliga. He also owns a Bavarian sausage factory.

Journalists who toured the Landsberg prison saw eight-square-meter (86-square-feet) cells of the type where Hoeness will be locked up. The rooms have just a simple bed, a chair, a closet and toilet.

(Editing by Tom Heneghan)

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