Pale and battered: Alfons Schuhbeck appears in court for the first time

The allegations against Alfons Schuhbeck weigh heavily: He is said to have smuggled more than 2.

Pale and battered: Alfons Schuhbeck appears in court for the first time

The allegations against Alfons Schuhbeck weigh heavily: He is said to have smuggled more than 2.3 million euros past the tax authorities. Therefore, the star chef must now answer in court. If convicted, he could even face imprisonment.

Accompanied by a lot of media hype, the trial against star chef Alfons Schuhbeck has begun before the Munich I Regional Court. The public prosecutor accuses the 73-year-old of tax evasion in the millions. If the allegations are confirmed, he could end up in prison. Because according to a judgment of the Federal Court of Justice (BGH), a prison sentence without probation is usually threatened from a sum of one million.

Schuhbeck appeared at the start of the trial in a white shirt and dark blue jacket. He looked pale and battered as he entered the courtroom with his two lawyers and faced the cameras. He himself only confirmed his name, occupation and the names of his parents, but otherwise did not comment.

The public prosecutor accuses the 73-year-old Schuhbeck of using a computer program to smuggle revenue past the tax office. In total, more than 2.3 million euros in taxes are involved, which Schuhbeck is said to have evaded in 25 cases between 2009 and 2016.

The man who the public prosecutor believes is said to have developed this program is on trial together with Schuhbeck. He is accused of aiding and abetting tax evasion. He admitted the allegations at the beginning of the trial and made a confession through his lawyer. He stated that Schuhbeck commissioned him to develop the tool. He did this because he was economically dependent on him.

When the investigations against him became known three years ago, Schuhbeck said: "I will work very closely and very openly with the authorities to refute all allegations." He is "answering the authorities on all questions".

Schuhbeck's defense attorneys made it clear at the beginning of the trial that they saw "doubts and inconsistencies" in the allegations against their client. Lawyer Sascha König added: "It may turn out at the end of the proceedings that Mr. Schuhbeck is not the perpetrator, but the victim himself, because not only the tax authorities, but first and foremost he was cheated."

Schuhbeck's lawyers do not deny that revenue was lost and taxes were evaded. They emphasize, however, that there are no indications or proof that the restaurateur even touched the till. In addition, the investigators had no answer as to where the millions in cash should have gone by which Schuhbeck is said to have reduced his income.

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