MUNICH - Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness was found guilty Thursday and sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison for evading millions of euros (dollars) in tax through an undeclared Swiss bank account. The 62-year-old Hoeness, one of the most powerful figures in German soccer, was initially charged with dodging 3.5 million euros ($4.85 million) in taxes through the Swiss account. But when his trial opened Monday he admitted to avoiding 15 million euros more. Then it came out through an examination of documents he provided to investigators shortly before the trial that he owed 27.2 million euros in total — a number Hoeness did not dispute. Hoeness had faced up to 10 years in prison, and the sentence came between the 5 1/2 years suggested by the prosecution and the defences plea for probation, based on the fact that he had turned himself in for tax evasion and provided details to the court, the dpa news agency reported. Following the verdict, defence attorney Hanns Feigen said he would appeal the decision to see how a higher court would value Hoeness "not ideal" confession. He added that he was convinced the appeals court would come to a "better result" than the Munich state court did. Hoeness will remain free on bail pending the outcome of the appeal. German authorities have been cracking down on tax evaders in recent years, and have recovered hundreds of millions of euros. Their widely-publicized purchase of leaked account information on thousands of investors, as well as high-profile cases such as that against Hoeness and former Deutsche Post AG CEO Klaus Zumwinkel, has led to thousands of people turning themselves in. Hoeness, who also is part owner of a Nuremberg sausage factory, reported himself to the tax authorities last April — around the same time that German media were investigating reports of high-profile tax evaders. News of the case against the national icon prompted even Chancellor Angela Merkels spokesman to weigh in and say the countrys leader was disappointed in him. 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 the Bundesligas youngest coach when he was 27. Bayern has been enjoying unprecedented success under Hoeness presidency. The club stood by him during the investigation, and its supervisory board was expected to meet following the verdict to see what steps to take next. Bayern Munich said it would issue a statement later Thursday. In three decades as manager and president of Bayern, Hoeness conducted a prudent financial policy that left the club not only without debts but with a fat bank account. Hoeness refused to spend lavishly on foreign superstars but brought in the best of German talent. In recent years, Bayern started spending more on players and the result was its first treble last season, when it won the Champions League, the Bundesliga and the German Cup. The club is on course to win the Bundesliga again — perhaps even undefeated — and could become the first team to defend the Champions League title. Bayern could accomplish the treble again. Hoeness was also instrumental in signing coach Pep Guardiola. With three "strategic partners" — Adidas, Audi and Allianz, which each have an 8.33-per cent stake in the club — Bayern has some of Germanys best known companies behind it. The club has also paid off its stadium. Wholesale Jerseys Cheap
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. He was signed to help with depth to the receiving corps because of the loss of Shamawd Chambers to the 6-game injured list. FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Add yet another chapter to the long-running saga that is the New York Jets-New England Patriots rivalry. But, heres a new twist: Rex Ryan actually defended Bill Belichick. Wait. Say what? Well, it started Thursday when a profile on Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine published on Sports Illustrateds theMMQB.com site included a revelation from the former Jets defensive co-ordinator that suggested New England might have obtained a copy of New Yorks playbook a few years ago. Pettine said Ryan, his longtime buddy, once gave Alabama coach Nick Saban a playbook -- and Pettine warned that Belichick and Saban are close friends. At the wedding of then-Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker a few years ago, Tom Brady bragged to former Jets assistant Mike Smith that New England might have gotten its hands on one of its rivals playbooks. "It didnt shock me," Pettine told the site, "because Rex would give them out like candy anyway." After the Jets completed their final minicamp practice, Ryan became agitated at times when asked about the story. The Jets coach refuted the suggestion that Saban -- who is also friends with Ryan -- might have given Belichick and the Patriots a sneak peek. "One thing I know for a fact, No. 1, I think its disrespectful to New England to say, Oh, they did this," Ryan said. "I can tell you every single game weve ever had with New England has been decided on the field. Nobodys had a competitive advantage. Nobodys had anything else. And thats a fact." The Patriots have won seven of the 11 games against the Jets since Ryan became New Yorks coach in 2009. Ryan said in the Jets losses, Belichicks bunch simply "outperformed us." So, this is, of course, not quite a scandal such as Spygate. Then, came the bombshell moment. "To discredit somebody like Belichick, who is a real coach, studies his butt off," Ryan said, "is ridiculous." Ryan explained that every team frequently changes its playbooks, tailoring plans to specific opponents. Theyre also coded in ways that would be difficult for opponents to completely decipher. "To me, I think its ridiculous," Ryan said. "But I think it sounds like everybody needs to talk to Pettine, because apparently hes got all the information." Alabama associate athletic director Jeff Purinton confirmed that Saban has a copy of the playboook Ryan gave to him -- and it has remained in his office at the school.dddddddddddd Belichick opted to not comment after the Patriots practice. "Talk to Mike Pettine," Belichick said. "I dont know." In the interview, Pettine used the anecdote to explain why he doesnt have thick playbooks -- just in case they end up in the wrong hands. Ryan acknowledged he wasnt sure if Pettine was just displaying his dry sense of humour, but was clearly irked by the whole situation. "I dont understand what hes trying to gain by it," Ryan said. "Thats up to Mike and hes certainly free to do whatever he chooses." Pettine and Ryan have been friends for years, dating to their days together in Baltimore. Pettine was Ryans defensive co-ordinator in New York before he left to take the same position in Buffalo in 2012. Cleveland hired Pettine as its head coach this off-season. Ryan was asked if a first-year head coach such as Pettine might consider staying out of the spotlight. "Yeah, he needs to learn to be quiet," said a smiling Ryan, whose mouth certainly has gotten him in trouble over the years. "Absolutely." The Jets coach then continued to lighten the mood, saying the story was being "a bit overblown" and analyzed his relationship with Pettine. "Its in a bad spot right now," a laughing Ryan said. "Like, really dude? Seriously?" Ryan later praised Pettine for his work by his side for so many years and acknowledged that he was proud of him for becoming a head coach in the NFL. So, will Ryan reach out to Pettine to smooth things over? "I dont need to," Ryan said with a grin. "Im going on vacation." Hmmm. Picture it: Ryan and Belichick having fun in the sun on Cape Cod. Now that would be some plot twist. NOTES: The Jets signed a pair of "camp legs" -- K Andrew Furney and P Jacob Schum -- and released TE Terrence Miller, putting their roster at 90 players. ... LB David Harris sat out with a hamstring issue that isnt serious. Ryan joked that Harris absence was a result of "the playbook issue." ... Ryan said hes "pretty optimistic" that RB Chris Johnson will be ready to participate in training camp next month. Johnson is coming off off-season knee surgery. Ryan suggested the Jets could use "pitch counts" for Johnson to limit his practice days. ' ' '