Austrian on trial over Aldi blackmail

The trial of a 61-year-old man from Salzburg, who blackmailed the company Aldi South, started yesterday (Wed) in Duisburg, Germany. The defendant has already admitted that he demanded 15 million Euros from the firm.

The defendant, who is the publisher of a German magazine in Pattaya, Thailand, stated that he was forced to blackmail Aldi by a Russian Mafia organisation.

Apparently, he was invited to a party on 9 May 2012 and lured with a translation offer. Later it turned out that the mafia wanted him to send blackmail letters. The Russian clients also forced him to lead the negotiations with Aldi.

Actually, the defendant stated in his first email that he was a member of a “worldwide operating organisation with headquarters in Russia”. Aldi was supposed to transfer 15 million Euros to a Canadian bank account within 36 hours.

However, the negotiations took almost two and a half months until the beginning of September 2012. The 61-year-old did not send any more emails as he did not think it was possible to enforce his demand.

His lawyer Hans Reinhardt stated that the attempt of blackmail was “naïve” as his client sent the emails from his own computer. The exposure of his identity was thus only a question of time.

Two more witnesses will be heard in the next and probably last hearing on 29 May. The offence of “attempted, severe blackmail” carries a penalty of one to ten years in jail in Germany.