The security and calm that Frank Hanebuth exuded in court in Madrid in January and February probably had good reasons - as it now turns out. The former German rocker boss was acquitted in the criminal trial against dozens of alleged former members of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang in Spain.
In addition to the 59-year-old from the Hanover region, a further twelve defendants were acquitted, the State Court announced on Tuesday in Madrid. 32 other people were sentenced to prison terms of up to two years.
With the happy ending for Hanebuth, a long story is finally put to rest after more than ten years. The Garbsen-born man, who was president of the Hells Angels Hannover for years, was arrested along with several other men in a spectacular raid on Mallorca in the summer of 2013.
According to the indictment from 2019, the Spanish public prosecutor's office accused him of forming a criminal organization on the holiday island as well as money laundering, threats and illegal possession of weapons. Some of his co-defendants - alleged "hell angels" with the winged skull on the back of their robe - were also accused of pimping and drug trafficking, among other things. Hanebuth was originally sentenced to 13 years in prison.
“I am relieved that justice has prevailed,” said Hanebuth on Tuesday in Hanover. "I kept saying that I was innocent. I wasn't afraid of being put in prison, I'm not afraid of anything." The 59-year-old also admitted: "The time in custody was not without its consequences and it ruined a lot of things."
The almost two meter tall former boxer had always protested his innocence. At the beginning of the trial in January, Hanebuth - before he took a seat at the front of the dock in the hall of the National Court of Justice in San Fernando de Henares in Madrid, wearing a black winter coat and blue-mirrored sunglasses - told a reporter from the "Mallorca Zeitung" that he had nothing to fear. He also assured the large number of journalists at the time: "I'm happy that it's finally starting."
We now know that his excessive optimism was justified. But not only Hanebuth, the other co-defendants should also be happy about the verdicts. In Spain, prison sentences of up to two years are usually suspended.
The Chamber ruled out the formation of a criminal organization in all cases because it had not been proven that the defendants - as the public prosecutor claimed - were part of a "criminal enterprise", emphasized the "Audiencia Nacional" in its statement. Such a verdict is no longer a given these days, said Hanebuth's German lawyer Michael Nagel. “My respect goes to the decision-making chamber, which applied the law and the law.”
The crimes the defendants are accused of are said to have been committed on Mallorca between 2009 and 2013 - especially on Playa de Palma, the famous "Ballermann". The public prosecutor's office had assured that Hanebuth had also led the Hells Angels on the holiday island. According to the police, almost all of the suspects there had “led a life of luxury” at the time. Hanebuth, for example, lived on a finca in Lloret de Vistalegre in the center of the island, whose value was estimated by the authorities at 2.5 million euros.
After two years behind bars, the German was released from custody in a high-security prison in Cádiz in the south of Spain in the summer of 2015 on bail of 60,000 euros and under conditions. He was only allowed to leave the country in 2017 and returned to Germany.
Shortly afterwards he caused a stir there by getting married. The police had to close streets at short notice because hundreds of guests and onlookers came to the event. The ex-rocker boss was occasionally seen in the Steintorviertel, the red light district of Hanover. In Germany, Hanebuth has never had to face such serious allegations in court as in Spain.