Bayern Munich Uli Hoeness Admits to €18m Swiss Bank Account Tax Evasion
Bayern Munich Uli Hoeness Admits to €18m Swiss Bank Account Tax Evasion: A supporter of Hoeness holds up a placard as he awaits his arrival outside the regional court in Munich March 10, 2014 Reuters

The President of European football champions Bayern Munich, Uli Hoeness, has admitted in court to evading €18m of taxes.

German prosecutors are seeking a prison term for the former World Cup-winning German footballer, after initially accusing him of defrauding the government for €3.5m (£2.9m, $4.9m), after not declaring more than €33m in income from 2004 to 2009.

Hoeness, 62, said he deeply regretted his "wrongdoing" after stashing the cash away in a secret Swiss bank account.

"I will do everything necessary to ensure that this depressing chapter for me is closed," he added in court.

Hoeness, who is famed for his exploits as a forward in West Germany's 1974 World Cup-winning side, has since offered his resignation at the group but was backed by supporters and the club's board.

Hoeness initially received a call that he was being investigated for tax evasion when he was dining with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on 15 January last year.

Later that year, he filed an amended tax return, in the hope of an amnesty in return for paying the tax he owed, after he stashed millions of euros away in a secret Swiss bank account.

In Germany, tax evaders can spend a decade in jail but prosecutors are seeking a seven-year sentence for Hoeness.

In court, Hoeness also admitted to large-scale gambling on the foreign currency markets.

"Between 2002 and 2006 I really gambled with sums that today I find difficult to grasp. For me it was a kick; pure adrenalin," said Hoeness when giving evidence.