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Court defends magazine 'rich lists'

The Local · 8 Apr 2011, 09:45

Published: 08 Apr 2011 09:45 GMT+02:00

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The court on Thursday threw out the complaint by a wealthy man against Manager Magazine, which had published the man’s name and assets as part of an annual ranking that listed Germany’s richest people along with their estimated worth.

The plaintiff’s lawyer, Christian Schertz, said he aimed to bring about a fundamental change in the way the law dealt with such information. Lists of wealthy people are popular and commonly used by business publications and in the popular press.

“A private man does not have to put up with appearing in such a public hit parade,” he said.

The complainant also challenged the magazine over what he argued were inaccurate figures about his net worth.

But judge Thomas Steiner rejected the complaint on the grounds that there is legitimate public interest in the assets of people who are worth more than €100 million, or even €1 billion, as well as the origins of their fortunes.

Steiner agreed that details published naturally needed to be correct. But given the complainant had refused to make public his assets, the accuracy of Manager Magazine’s estimates could not be confirmed either way, he said.

Story continues below…

Konstantin Wegner, representing Manager Magazine’s publisher, said rich people simply had “to put up with it.”

The Local/rm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

10:03 April 8, 2011 by twisted
I feel so sorry for the rich, they suffer so much. It bet the higher gas prices are really causing some tears to flow, while we, the "masses" must just grin and bare (bear ???) it.
11:42 April 8, 2011 by iseedaftpeople
heck yes, it must suck big time being rich.

But to be fair, I imagine being rich isn't all the fun and games it appears to be. How does the saying go... don't let your possessions own you! I think many rich people, at least going by the handful of very wealthy individuals I have met in my life, aren't really all that happy with their wealth. They worry about it, they worry about losing it, about outliving their assets, about people just wanting to be friends with them because of their money. And not to mention, big $$ attracts more gold digging women than you can shake a stick at.
16:33 April 8, 2011 by SockRayBlue
Why does the media have this penchant for sticking their collective noses in everyone's orifice? Can anyone have some privacy? Perhaps if the editors and other media types had their personal lives laid bare then a balance again would evolve.
18:53 April 8, 2011 by wood artist
I suspect that some of the "rich" are simply "feeling the heat."

The recent example of TransOcean, the firm that declared hefty safety bonuses, claiming they had their best year ever while simply ignoring that "little mishap" that killed eleven and resulted in the worst oil spill in history, is in that same category.

I can't speak for Germany, but in the US it's obvious, both by simple observation and by looking at real numbers, that the gulf between the rich and the poor is growing, and, increasingly, we're seeing the rich attempt to use their power to influence/change the political landscape. At this point, it seems they do not remotely understand the backlash that is brewing.


I can't speak to this man in particular, but in the US the rich are more than willing to stick their noses into our everyday life. Witness the impact of the Koch brothers on the recent brawl in Wisconsin. If they want "privacy" then don't try to rule the world.

19:05 April 8, 2011 by frankiep
I thought that it was bad in the US, but the over the top class envy here is out of control. Who gives a flying **** how much money other people have, or if someone is rich, or if someone owns a lots of houses and cars? Just shut up already. It should have absolutely no affect on your life, so paying this much attention and holding this much hostility towards people with more money than you is a completely pointless exercise which only serves to expose those who do it as losers. If you don't like your situation in your life then chances are it is due to decisions that YOU have made and has probably nothing to do with the fact that someone else out there has a bigger bank account than you do. So get off your asses and spend that time and energy you waste on complaining about how much more other people have than you and go out and work towards getting some for yourself.

Sorry for the rant, but I have just had it lately with the non-stop complaining and implications I hear, both here and in the media, about how everyone with more money than others are only successful because they have somehow "cheated"
21:20 April 8, 2011 by c12dat
@ wood artist

Sir. How about the impact of Mr. George Soros? Since this is a forum about Germany, I'll leave the issues of Wisconsin for another place.

My personal view on this issue. My income and it is no one else business. Why is it your business to know what I earn regardless of my income?
03:55 April 9, 2011 by wood artist

I completely agree. The issue only comes to the fore when those who make that kind of money attempt to influence how society operates, often at the expense of others. Bill Gates is worth billions, but beyond Microsoft, we only hear about his foundation which focuses on health and similar issues, primarily in developing countries.

The other place we hear about this sort of thing is when a company has a bad year, and the CEO collects millions in bonuses, etc. If this unnamed "rich person" said nothing, probably few would notice or care unless he is known for shady dealings or some other infamous acts.

In short, most of these lists, at least those I have seen over the years, include names you've never heard of, and simply read and set aside. In this case, the mere fact that he says the numbers are wrong make people wonder what the "real number" should be, and that calls more attention to him.

13:07 April 10, 2011 by Deutschguy
Wealth is power. It's good for the public to know who has it. And, as woodartist points out, it's even better to know since many of them try to wield political and economic power over the rest of us.

So, it's not just a pop media/culture issue.

Re: Koch brothers - "The Koch brothers fought efforts to give the Commodity Futures Trading Commission more oversight over speculative trading, whereby companies can artificially inflate prices on things such as oil, during the Wall Street reform debate. One of the Koch companies—Koch Supply & Trading—takes part in oil and derivatives trading. We should point out that oil speculation has reached an all-time high at the same time gas prices continue to skyrocket."

So, yes, it's important for the public to know.
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