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Bayern's Hoeness charged with tax evasion

MUNICH (AP) - German prosecutors filed tax evasion charges against Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness on Tuesday.

Hoeness reported to authorities this year over a previously undeclared Swiss bank account. News of the case against Hoeness, long one of the most prominent figures in German soccer, emerged in April.

Ken Heidenreich, a spokesman for Munich prosecutors, declined to comment on details of the indictment, citing tax secrecy laws.

``We have filed the charges to the Munich state court,'' Heidenreich said. ``The defense now has one month to pronounce itself.''

The court will set a date for trial, reject the charges or ask for more investigations before making a decision, Heidenreich said.

A decision isn't expected before the end of September ``in view of the volume of documents in the investigation,'' the court said in a statement.

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.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman even weighed in, saying the country's leader was disappointed in him.

Bayern won the Bundesliga, the Champions League and the German Cup last season. It is a strong favorite again this season under new coach Pep Guardiola.

Bayern spokesman Markus Hoerwick said the club is ``not saying anything about'' the case.

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.

He became Bayern's general manager and built the most influential career in German soccer. Under his guidance, Bayern built financial reserves rarely seen in debt-ridden European club soccer.

The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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