Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness admitted to evading taxes through an undeclared Swiss bank account at a trial that could send the German football great to prison.
I deeply regret my wrongdoing and will do everything necessary to ensure that this depressing chapter for me is closed.
Prosecutor Achim von Engel told the Munich state court that Hoeness evaded $4.9 million in taxes by concealing $45 million income through an undeclared Swiss bank account.
Hoeness reported himself to authorities in early 2013, and part of trial will be to determine whether he did that because he had become aware there was an investigation against him or for other reasons, which will affect the sentence he receives.
No pleas are entered in the German system, but if found guilty he faces anything from a fine to 10 years in prison.
But as the trial opened Hoeness said he had hoped to avoid the case going to court by reporting himself to authorities.
"I evaded taxes, I'm aware that reporting myself doesn't change anything," he told the court.
"I deeply regret my wrongdoing and will do everything necessary to ensure that this depressing chapter for me is closed."
Hoeness also noted that he had donated millions of euros to charities.
Four days have been scheduled for hearings, with a verdict expected on Thursday.
German authorities have been cracking down on tax-evaders in recent years, and have recovered hundreds of millions of euros.
As a player, Hoeness was a Bayern star who won the 1972 European Championship and the 1974 World Cup with West Germany and three straight European Cups before retiring in 1979 with chronic knee problems.