Bayern blackmailer gets stiff jail term

UPDATE: A man who admitted to trying to blackmail jailed football legend Uli Hoeneß, former boss of Bayern Munich, for hundreds of thousands of euros was sentenced to three years nine months in prison on Tuesday.

Bayern blackmailer gets stiff jail term
The attempted blackmailer in court on Monday. Photo: DPA

"There's no doubt about the culpability of the defendant", presiding judge Oliver Ottmann said during sentencing.

But Ottmann didn't hand down the maximum penalty requested by prosecutors, saying that the man had shown "understanding of his crime and remorse".

The 51-year-old defendant confessed to having sent Hoeneß, currently serving a jail term for tax fraud, a letter warning that his time in prison would be "no picnic" unless he paid up, a court spokeswoman said.

"The defendant made a full confession," the spokeswoman for the regional court in Munich said on the opening day of the court case.

Signed Mister X, the blackmail note demanding €215,000 was posted to Hoeneß' private address in May before he went to prison and immediately handed to the police by Hoeneß' wife.

The defendant had previously served prison sentences himself and claimed in the letter he had "real influence" over how Hoeneß' time in jail could go.

"The defendant indicated as a motive for the act his own financial need," the spokeswoman said.

He also felt that Hoeneß had come away more lightly in his sentence than he himself had earlier done.

Prosecutors had asked for up to five years in prison before the verdict.

Hoeneß, 62, who spent four decades at Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich and also has a successful sausage business, began a three-and-a-half year jail term in June for having cheated the state out of €28.5 million.

At his four-day trial several months earlier, he admitted hiding his wealth in secret Swiss bank accounts while obsessively "gambling" on stock and currency markets.

Hoeneß and his wife will not be called as witnesses in the blackmail trial due to the defendant having confessed, the spokeswoman said.

In a statement read by his lawyer, the accused said he was a diabetes patient who could no longer afford health insurance after being 340,000 euros in debt. 

"I found myself at that time in a completely hopeless situation."

When he heard about Hoeneß sentence for millions of euros of tax evasion seemed "monstrous" compared with his own sentence. "The idea came to me spontaneously, touched off by my completely desolate situation."

SEE ALSO: Ex-Bayern president Hoeneß slims down in jail

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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.