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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Agents Start Probe Into Graf's Tax Returns

MANNHEIM, Germany -- United States tax authorities have made inquiries about tax returns that tennis star Steffi Graf filed in Germany, a German prosecutor said.


State prosecutor Hubert Jobski confirmed local media reports that U.S. tax collectors were interested in learning more about Graf's declared earnings.


German press reports have said Graf underreported her tennis winnings to U.S. tax authorities, raising the possibility that her tax troubles may spread from Germany to the United States.


Graf's father, Peter, is accused of evading taxes on 19 million marks ($12 million) of his multimillionaire daughter's earnings between 1989 and 1993.


He has been in detention since August last year and his trial began in Mannheim in September.


"A query [from the United States] was received by the finance authorities [in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg]," Jobski said during a break in the trial on Tuesday. Jobski is leading the prosecution against Graf.


He declined to provide any further details about the U.S. query.


Peter Graf's lawyer bitterly complained that the media learned of the tax query from the United States before the defense.


Graf made his second public statement during the trial on Tuesday, admitting he had erred in filing false German tax returns.


"I cannot say that I acted properly in tax matters," Graf said. He repeated his earlier assertion that local political leaders had assured him of tax relief for his daughter.


"If my daughter had emigrated, the German [tax] authorities would have been far worse off," Graf said.


Having spent 14 months in investigative custody, Graf faces a possible 10-year jail sentence if convicted of evading taxes from the late 1980s.