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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Hiddink Fined for Tax Evasion

DEN BOSCH, Netherlands -- A Dutch court handed Russia coach Guus Hiddink a six-month suspended sentence and fined him 45,000 euros ($59,270) on Tuesday after finding him guilty of tax fraud.

Hiddink was accused of evading almost 1.4 million euros in Dutch taxes by falsely claiming to be a resident of Belgium in 2002 and 2003.

The court cleared him of tax evasion during 2002, saying the Dutchman may well have intended to go and live in Belgium, but found him guilty for the period of 2003, when he had actually lived with his partner in Amsterdam, and imposed the maximum fine.

"The court reached the conclusion that Hiddink deliberately submitted an incomplete and incorrect tax declaration over 2003," it said in a statement.

Earlier this month, prosecutors demanded a 10-month prison sentence for Hiddink, who was not in court to hear the verdict, dismissing his claims that he had been living in Belgium, where the tax rate is much lower, as "a joke".

"Hiddink is glad that the punishment is lower. But nevertheless his image has been damaged," his lawyer told Dutch news agency ANP.

In explaining its sentence and why it had not sent him to prison, the court said: "The court considered that there already has been a lot of negative publicity around Hiddink."

From 2000 to 2002, the 60-year-old Dutchman was in charge of the South Korean national side, guiding the World Cup co-hosts to fourth place at the 2002 finals. He then returned to the Netherlands and accepted a coaching job with PSV Eindhoven.

After the 2006 Soccer World Cup in Germany, Hiddink then became the coach of Russia's national team.

A spokesman for the Russian Football Union said they would consult legal experts on the consequences of the ruling.

"Our main concern is what the suspended sentence means as far as Dutch law is concerned. Would it prevent Hiddink from doing his work or prevent him from traveling, that is what we are concerned about," he said.

Hiddink's case came to the attention of Dutch tax fraud inspectors after telephone conversations with a former PSV director were monitored by wire taps in a criminal investigation into the PSV director some years ago.

During the trial Hiddink admitted that he never spent a night in his house in Belgium but also denied that he lived with his girlfriend in Amsterdam.

He said he had instead slept in a number of different places -- in hotels, at his girlfriend's home, at the training ground of PSV Eindhoven, and sometimes even in his car.

Hiddink's accountant, also on trial at the court, was also convicted of fraud, for which he was fined 45,000 euros and given an eight-month suspended sentence.