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Hiddink Guilty of Tax Fraud, Could Face Prison

Doesn't matter who you are, you have to pay your taxes. Russia coach Guus Hiddink, a man widely regarded as one of the best coaches in soccer, has been handed a six-month suspended sentence and a fine worth $59,000 for evading almost $1.8 billion in Dutch taxes by claiming to be a resident of Belgium from 2002 to 2003.

Prosecutors want a 10-month prison sentence for Hiddink, which would likely result in him being let go from his post with Russia. However, there's a glimmer of hope that the sentence will be tempered somewhat due to the negative publicity he's already received in the Dutch press as well as his claim that he'd been given bad advice from his financial advisor. The other good news is that Hiddink was cleared of the 2002 charge; he is being sentenced for the following year.

Nevertheless, the man who steered both the Netherlands and South Korea to respective fourth place finishes at the 1998 and 2002 World Cups must now wait six months to find out his fate. "The court reached the conclusion that Hiddink deliberately submitted an incomplete and incorrect tax declaration over 2003," came the courtroom statement. Meanwhile, the Russian soccer association is set to meet with legal experts to discuss the ramifications of the verdict.

Read the whole story at The Guardian »

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