The custody dispute between Hamburg entrepreneur Christina Block (50) and her ex-husband (49), which has been going on for years, has a new chapter: the public prosecutor's office and the police searched Block's home in Hamburg on Friday. She and other people are being investigated on suspicion of abducting minors and other crimes, said a spokeswoman for the public prosecutor's office. The “Bild” newspaper had previously reported.
The fight for two of their four children has long been reminiscent of a dramatic film. German and Danish courts have already ruled in favor of both the father and the mother. However, a final verdict is still pending.
Most recently, the children were brought from Denmark to Germany to live with their mother in a night-and-dagger operation by hitherto unknown people. According to police, the father was allegedly attacked. After another court decision, the children are now back in Denmark. And the police and public prosecutor's office are investigating: Who commissioned the return operation?
Searches at Christina Block and in a luxury hotel
In this context, several search warrants were executed on Friday. According to dpa information, emails and data should be secured that provide information about the person or people who commissioned the campaign in Denmark.
Almost a dozen investigators drove up in civilian vehicles that morning and carried filled cardboard boxes and a device that looked like a printer out of the villa. The action, which lasted several hours, was observed, photographed and filmed by media representatives. Investigators are also said to have been at the luxury hotel Grand Elysée, as a dpa photographer said. They were packing boxes into a car.
Like the Block House restaurant chain, the Elysée Hotel belongs to the group of companies founded by Eugen Block. The 83-year-old is Christina Block's father. He had just said on Thursday at a New Year's reception about the custody battle over his grandchildren: "This injustice screams to heaven." All of this is just sad.
Speaker: Cooperate fully
The Block Group's headquarters in Lademannbogen in Langenhorn was also searched, as the "Hamburger Abendblatt" first reported. A spokeswoman for the Block group said: "We are cooperating fully with the investigators and providing the requested documents."
Arguments about children for many years
Christina Block and the father of her children married in August 2005 and divorced about ten years later. During one of the agreed visits in the summer of 2021, the father did not send the children home again and justified his decision with the mother's abuses against the children. Her lawyer Otmar Kury assured dpa that there was no truth to the allegations. "This is the subject of the family court proceedings and the mother has always said that of course she did not hit the children and there is no evidence of this."
The two younger children have been living in Denmark since then - although the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court (OLG) in Hamburg provisionally transferred the right of residence to the mother in October 2021. A month earlier, the family court had awarded the right to the father, against which the mother successfully complained before the Higher Regional Court. In the interim order from October, the court ordered the father to return the children to the mother's care.
The decision was also not implemented by the Danish authorities. Background: Denmark is the only EU country that does not recognize decisions made by courts in other member states in custody disputes. It has not signed the relevant EU regulation.
In mid-October 2023, the Hamburg family court rejected both parents' applications for custody as inadmissible in the so-called main proceedings - because the children now have their center of life in Denmark and the German courts are no longer responsible. The mother has lodged a complaint against this, which has not yet been decided.
The public prosecutor's office has been trying for months to shed more light on the entire complex of the bloc conflict. In May 2023 she filed charges against the father for child abduction. The district court refused to open a trial in November because withholding a child domestically and across the EU is only punishable if it is done with violence, threats or tricks, said a court spokesman. But the father is not blamed for that. The public prosecutor filed a complaint against this, but the regional court has not yet made a decision.
Sad preliminary climax on New Year's Eve
The fight over the children escalated on New Year's Eve when, according to Danish police, unknown men attacked the father in southern Denmark and took the 10-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl in two cars. Danish police said they were investigating charges of deprivation of liberty and bodily harm.
The children were then with their mother. After an urgent application from the father, the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court issued an interim order on Friday last week, according to which the children had to return to their father. Christina Block followed the request immediately, her lawyer said. He also emphasized that his client did not commission the action.
A European arrest warrant issued against her by the Danish judiciary because of New Year's Eve will not be executed in Germany, said Kury. The arrest warrant was converted into a reporting order in Hamburg. There is no risk of escape. The lawyer was unable to say what accusation the Danish judiciary made against the entrepreneur.
At a New Year's reception a few days ago, Christina Block called for clear rules in the media and the judiciary: "Where injustice occurs, we should advocate that it be revised, and where injustice has been recognized and judged, this must be implemented strictly and quickly. And the victims must be protected," she said.