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Russian soccer will not be affected if Guus Hiddink is found guilty of tax evasion in the Netherlands
Russian soccer will not be affected if Dutch head coach of country's national team, Guus Hiddink, is found guilty of tax evasion in the Netherlands, the president of the Russian Football Union said Wednesday. Hiddink, who signed a two-year contract with Russia worth 4 million euros last year, has been embroiled in a tax scandal in his home country, with Dutch prosecutors demanding a 10-month prison sentence for tax evasion. Vitaly Mutko said he was confident that Hiddink, 60, even if found guilty of some of the charges against him, will not be sent to prison, and that his work with the Russian national soccer team will continue. "He will pay the taxes himself," Mutko said. "That is his responsibility and there should be no anxiety about it. It is not connected with his activities in Russia or with Russian soccer." Dutch prosecutors say that in 2002-2003, Hiddink failed to pay the Dutch tax service 1.4 million euros in taxes by claiming that his permanent residence was in Achel, Belgium, although he lived at his girlfriend's house in the Netherlands. Prosecutors also demanded a 14-month prison sentence for Simon van den Boom, Hiddink's accountant and tax advisor, whom they claim was behind the scheme. Lawyers for Hiddink and van den Boom addressed the court February 12 and 13, and the court is expected to announce its verdict February 27. Russia's national team failed to qualify last year for the World Cup in Germany, and Russian fans are hopeful that Hiddink, who previously guided the South Korean and Australian teams to unprecedented successes, will take the team to the Euro-2008 finals.
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