Soccer Scandal

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Under Fire for Special Prison Treatment, Disgraced Former Bayern Munich Soccer President Faces Another Blackmail Threat

Former FC Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeneß in May. Photo: AP
Ex Bayern Munich manager Uli Hoeness before his conviction on tax evasion.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    A towering national figure in Germany, Mr. Hoeneß won the World Cup as player and led Bayern Munich to unprecedented success both as the soccer club’s manager and later as its president.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Mr. Hoeneß was found guilty of tax evasion totaling €28.5 million in March.
    • He could soon apply for day-release for the final 18 months of his sentence.
    • Nazi Dictator Adolf Hitler once wrote “Mein Kampf” in the Landsberg Prison, where Mr. Hoeneß is incarcerated.
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

Only two months after trading the luxury stadium suite of Germany’s top football team for a cell in the prison once incarcerating Adolf Hitler, Uli Hoeneß, the former president of FC Bayern Munich remains far from an ordinary inmate.

A towering sports figure in Germany, Mr. Hoeneß won the World Cup as a player and led Bayern Munich to unprecedented success both as the soccer club’s manager and later as its president. He is also a successful entrepreneur, running his family’s sausage business.

In a spectacular fall from grace last spring, Mr. Hoeneß was found guilty of tax evasion on funds he had deposited in a secret Swiss bank account.

Making speculative investments with money loaned to him by the former chief executive of German sportswear maker Adidas, Robert Louis-Dreyfus, Mr. Hoeneß racked up millions of euros in profits, which he failed to report to German tax authorities. Fearing he would be found out and hoping to receive leiniency, he notified the authorities in January 2013. But as the amount of unpaid taxes ballooned during the criminal probe to €28.5 million.

Convicted in March, Mr. Hoeneß last month entered Bavaria’s Landsberg prison, where Adolf Hitler had once served time in the 1920 for a failed putsch and where the Nazi dictator wrote his infamous work, “Mein Kampf.”

In an attempt to quell accusations of favoritism surrounding the disgraced sports hero, prison officials brought Mr. Hoeneß back to the prison just an hour after undergoing a routine heart operation in a private clinic last week. The 62-year-old was originally scheduled to spend several days at the regal facility located on Bavaria’s idyllic Starnberger Lake above Munich.

But he was also recently the victim of another blackmail attempt, reported weekly newsmagazine Der Spiegel in its latest edition.

“We cannot give out specific information in that case,” a Landsberg prison spokeswoman told Handelsblatt Global Edition. “Any such matters are reported to the police.”

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