Ex-Bayern boss starts jail term


ULI-HOENESSMUNICH, June 2- Football legend Uli Hoeness, former boss of powerhouse club Bayern Munich, began a jail term for tax fraud in a German prison on Monday, his lawyers and prosecutors said.

“Mr Hoeness today began his sentence in Landsberg am Lech (prison),” a spokeswoman for his lawyers said, giving no further details.

A Munich court handed Hoeness, 62, a three-and-a-half year jail term in March for having cheated the state out of 28.5 million euros ($38.8 million) but it had been unclear exactly when the jail time would start.

The Landsberg prison in southern Bavaria state is the jail where Adolf Hitler wrote “Mein Kampf” while serving a sentence for treason after the failed 1923 Beer Hall Putsch in Munich.

A spokesman for Munich public prosecutors also confirmed that Hoeness had begun his sentence and said he had the possibility in principle to apply to serve out the second half of it on probation.

“For that, certain conditions must exist,” he added.

The spectacular four-day trial of Hoeness, who spent four decades at Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich and also runs a successful sausage business, riveted football-obsessed Germany.

He admitted to hiding his wealth in secret Swiss bank accounts while obsessively “gambling” on stock and currency markets for years before seeking to come clean in return for immunity from prosecution.

But his January 2013 attempt to turn himself in to authorities was deemed too little too late.

Prosecutors originally suspected the tax fraud case to amount to about 3.5 million euros, but on the trial’s opening day Hoeness admitted it was more in the realm of 18.5 million euros.

A day later, that figure again jumped, this time to 27.2 million euros, before the court recalculated it 28.5 million euros.

A day after being sentenced, Hoeness resigned from his posts as president and board chairman of Bayern Munich and announced he would not appeal.

He has been replaced as Bayern Munich president by Karl Hopfner who has spent more than 30 years at Bayern filling positions such as vice-president and serving on the executive committee.

Hoeness spent more than 40 years with the Bavarian sporting giants — first as player, where he also helped then West Germany win the 1974 World Cup, then as team manager and, since 2009, as club president.

Bayern became Germany’s first side to win the treble titles of Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup last season.

Senior club figures have already said Hoeness would be welcomed back once he has served his prison sentence.