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CRIME

Gigolo blackmailing BMW heiress to face trial by March

The jailed gigolo accused of blackmailing Germany’s richest woman will face a Munich court by March of 2009, daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Friday.

Gigolo blackmailing BMW heiress to face trial by March
File photo of Susanne Klatten. Photo: DPA

The 43-year-old Swiss man, Helg Sgarbi, will stand trial on two charges of blackmail and four counts of fraud, the paper reported.

Susanne Klatten, the heiress to the Quandt family BMW fortune, turned in her former beau after he demanded a reported €14 million to keep secretly taped videos of their liaisons to himself. He had already coaxed €7 million from the 46-year-old by claiming the mafia was after him for supposedly harming a young girl in an accident.

Worth an estimated €13 billion, Klatten told German daily Financial Times Deutschland last week that turning in her hornswoggling ex-lover was a difficult choice but was necessary to protect her family and defend women against similar situations in the future. She also said the media blitz surrounding the investigation of former lover Helg Sgarbi made her a “victim for a second time” but also brought relief.

“It was a moment of clarity: you’re a victim and you have to defend yourself. I fought back in the name of all women in my family and in the name of many other women as well,” Klatten told the paper.

Klatten inherited a major stake in German carmaker BMW from her father and is also owner of Altana, a German chemicals group. Her husband, with whom she has three children, has reportedly stood at her side during the ordeal.

Sgarbi is reportedly a member of a gang of romeos that launched love affairs with rich European women in order to blackmail them for millions and will be held in a Munich jail until trial.

CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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