Newsflyer and Food for Thought on the Prison Sentence of Uli Hoeness
A question for the forum: If you were the judge, and you would find out that a well-known person evaded taxes in the tens of millions of dollars, how many years would you sentence him, and how should he serve his time?
When looking at the decision of Uli Hoeness, the (still) President of the German soccer club FC Bayern Munich- serving only 3.5 years in prison for keeping 28.4 million Euros worth of taxes away from the German treasury- one can dub this as an insult to the German judicial system, to democracy, and to the people living in Germany. Evading such high amounts of taxes, the money that could easily have helped 10,000 unemployed people, or used to improve the infrastructure and education system in Germany, warrants tougher penalties. This especially as Europe has heard about scams in the US, done by the filthiest, like Bernie Madoff, who in 2009 was sentenced to 150 years for a ponzi scam that consumed billions of dollars in assets from hundreds of people affected. Hoeness is no better than those bunches who are serving at least 50 years for their crimes. As a judge, 27 years, one year for every million squeezed out of the workers in Germany earning that well-deserved money, is considered modest to today’s standards. But given the fact that Germany’s maximum sentence is 10 years for major tax fraud, one has to push for the maximum to show the public that even the rich and famous should set an example for others to follow and serve the same time as the common person. That unfortunately failed in this case, and many people are still asking “Why?”
On the flip side, Hoeness will cast a dark shadow on the soccer team, for despite the team winning the triple crown last year (the Bundesliga Championship, the German Cup and the Champions League Title), and there are no barriers in the way for them to repeat in 2014, that will be it for the team. While the team is still the most successful and most popular team in Germany, the tax scandal will surely lead to Hoeness to step down and another person to take over, creating the end of continuity for the team. High-paying players will distance themselves from the team after this season, fewer people will attend home games at Allianz Arena, and many contenders, like Dortmund, Leverkusen, Berlin and Schalke (Gelsenkirchen) will line up to take some well-deserved and long awaited shots at the team on the field- not to mention the Bundesliga title for next year. From the author’s point of view, once deemed an example and icon for future generations to follow, many will now associate FC Bayern Munich with Uli Hoeness and his secret Swiss account, where he stashed his money from others who are in need, and is now paying the price for it. As morally conscious and liberal as Germany is as a whole, even in Bavaria, people will turn their backs on their team, showing the younger people that screwing people out of their assets is legally and morally wrong and should be punished accordingly.
While Hoeness will spend that jail time in comfort (a minimum security prison), the damage has been done already, and Bayern Munich’s downfall is set to come. Enjoy the 2014 season while you still can. The next season will be even more interesting to watch as things unravel for Hoeness and his (soon to be former) team.