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Crime: Schumacher blackmail: Suspected mastermind arrested

Crime: Schumacher blackmail: Suspected mastermind arrested
Crime: Schumacher blackmail: Suspected mastermind arrested

Criminals have blackmailed the family of former racing driver Michael Schumacher. Now there has been another arrest. The man was responsible for the family’s security.

After the attempted blackmail of the family of former Formula 1 world champion Michael Schumacher, the police have now arrested the alleged mastermind. He is a 52-year-old who worked as a security service provider for the Schumacher family, said senior public prosecutor Wolf-Tilman Baumert in Wuppertal. The man was arrested on Thursday in Wülfrath near Wuppertal as the new main suspect.

When he was arrested, his apartment was searched and a large number of other pieces of evidence such as hard drives, USB sticks and mobile phones were seized. These will be evaluated shortly. “We are certainly hoping for new findings,” said Baumert.

Claim of 15 million euros

The investigators arrested two suspected blackmailers of the family a good two weeks ago. They are said to have demanded 15 million euros – otherwise they would publish the data on the darknet. They sent some files to the family as proof.

The two suspects, a 53-year-old man with 19 previous convictions and his 30-year-old son, were arrested on June 19 in a supermarket parking lot in Gross-Gerau, Hesse. Both have been in custody since then. The question of where the photos came from initially remained unanswered.

Direct contact with the family

“It became clear to us that there had to be someone behind the scenes who had direct contact with the family,” said Baumert. The analysis of the evidence then led to the man “who had previously worked as a security service provider for the family and was also responsible for digitizing private photos.”

In addition, the two accused, who are already in custody, have now given evidence. The 53-year-old incriminated the one-year-younger man and said that the 52-year-old had given him the data sets so that he could carry out the blackmail in return for a promised commission of millions.

The man behind

Due to the new status of the investigation, the public prosecutor’s office obtained an arrest warrant on Wednesday against the 52-year-old suspect from Wülfrath. The man was arrested at his home a day later. He has already been brought before a judge and is in custody.

He is also no stranger to the investigators and has a criminal record, although not to the same extent as the 53-year-old suspect, said Baumert. The public prosecutor’s office accuses the three arrested of attempted joint extortion. This carries a sentence of up to five years in prison.

Formula 1 record world champion Michael Schumacher was seriously injured in a skiing accident at the end of 2013. He has not appeared in public since then.

The investigation was initiated following a tip-off from Swiss law enforcement authorities. According to the investigators, “technical measures” finally made it clear that the suspected blackmailers were operating from Wuppertal.

In connection with the first two arrests, eight properties were searched, including the primary residences of the accused, the second residence and workplace of the older suspect in Konstanz, as well as the premises of other people, including in Solingen.

Older blackmail attempt

It is not the first attempt to blackmail the former racing driver’s family. In 2017, the Reutlingen district court in Baden-Württemberg sentenced a 25-year-old man for trying to blackmail Schumacher’s wife Corinna Schumacher for 900,000 euros. He had threatened that otherwise something would happen to the children. The man was sentenced to a suspended sentence of 21 months. The painter had given his real bank account number in an email to Corinna Schumacher.

Source: Stern

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