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Former Bayern Munich boss Hoeness seeks early release

Former Bayern President Uli Hoeness has applied for early release from prison. If his application is approved, he could be out of jail as early as March, after serving more than half of his sentence.

A member of Uli Hoeness' legal team confirmed on Tuesday that the former Bayern Munich president had applied for an early release after having served 18 months of his sentence for a tax evasion conviction.

The 63-year old Hoeness, widely credited for helping build Bayern into one of the world's most successful brands, was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison in March 2014 for evading about 28.5 million euros ($31.3 million) worth of tax. He began serving his sentence three months later.

Hoeness confessed to evading taxes on income earned in a secret Swiss bank account and hoped for leniency. But the judge ruled that Hoeness' voluntary disclosure had been incomplete and thus did not meet a requirement to be granted amnesty under laws designed to encourage tax evaders to come clean.

Hoeness' lawyer, Michael Nesselhauf, told the DPA news agency on Tuesday that an application for early release had been made to the relevant authorities. If this is approved, Hoeness could be out of jail in March 2016, after serving more than half of his prison sentence.

Hoeness has been on day release since the start of the year under a parole system which requires him to return to jail every evening. He has been

working with one of Bayern's youth teams

and according to local media his application should be helped by the fact that he has secured a job with the reigning Bundesliga champions.

The former Bayern player and West Germany international was general manager of

Bayern and then president from 2009 to 2014

. The club's earnings soared under his stewardship, which lasted 35 years in various posts. With more than 200,000 members, it is one of the world's biggest football clubs.

It is not clear whether he could seek to return to the post of president at a future date.

ap/pfd (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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