MUNICH, March 17 (Reuters) - State prosecutors in Munich will not appeal a court ruling to send former Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness to jail for 3-1/2 years on a tax evasion conviction even though it was two years less than their demand, their office said on Monday.
Hoeness, 62, also opted on Friday not to appeal the ruling after the most spectacular tax evasion trial in the country’s history. Hoeness resigned as Bayern’s president and chairman of the supervisory board after the conviction.
Hoeness, who turned the soccer club into one of the world’s most successful sporting dynasties during 35 years at the helm, is expected to begin his term within the next two months - most likely at the same Landsberg prison west of Munich where Adolf Hitler went to jail in 1924 on a treason conviction.
Hoeness was convicted of tax evasion on Thursday for evading 28.5 million euros in taxes on income earned in a secret Swiss bank account. He had hoped his voluntary disclosure of the income earned would lead to leniency and a suspended sentence.
Hoeness, who also owns a Bavarian sausage factory, helped West Germany win the 1974 World Cup as a player. As an executive at Bayern Munich, he helped build the team into a perennial powerhouse that won last year’s Champions League and dominates the German Bundesliga.
The club’s earnings have soared under his stewardship, which has lasted 35 years in various posts. With more than 220,000 members, it is one of the world’s biggest soccer clubs.
His tax evasion shocked the nation and prompted thousands of tax dodgers to turn themselves in. The maximum sentence for tax evasion is 10 years and the prosecutors, citing Hoeness’s cooperation, had sought a 5-1/2 year sentence. (Writing by Erik Kirschbaum; Editing by Angus MacSwan)