Media: Axel Springer files criminal charges against Julian Reichelt

The media group Axel Springer has reported its former "Bild" editor-in-chief Julian Reichelt.

Media: Axel Springer files criminal charges against Julian Reichelt

The media group Axel Springer has reported its former "Bild" editor-in-chief Julian Reichelt. A Springer spokesman confirmed to the German Press Agency that the group had filed a criminal complaint against Reichelt with the Berlin public prosecutor for fraud. The company declined to comment beyond that. The public prosecutor's office in Berlin said in the early afternoon that no complaint had been received.

When asked about the criminal complaint as well as about a lawsuit by the group against Reichelt before the labor court that became known on the same day, Reichelt's lawyer said that neither his client nor himself had filed a lawsuit.

"We regard the announcement of such a lawsuit, which was apparently made to the media in a targeted manner, even before this lawsuit was served on my client, as a revealing and at the same time unsuitable attempt at intimidation and distraction," explained the lawyer.

Reichelt had to vacate his position as editor-in-chief of Germany's largest tabloid in autumn 2021 and leave the group. The background to his career end at "Bild" were allegations of abuse of power in connection with consensual relationships with employees. The journalist himself later spoke of a "smear campaign" against him and always rejected allegations.

Reichelt's lawyer recently said that not only the allegations made against Reichelt, but also the conduct of the internal investigation and the way the group deals with the allegations and the issue of abuse of power in general require a "completely new assessment".

Lawsuit for millions

In addition to the criminal complaint, Springer is also demanding money from his former "Bild" editor-in-chief Reichelt and is going to court. The case is with the Berlin Labor Court, as a court spokeswoman for the dpa confirmed. The "Spiegel" had previously reported about it.

The spokeswoman went on to say that the lawsuit was about the repayment of a severance payment that had been agreed upon when Reichelt left. In addition, the group is also demanding the payment of a contractual penalty. The lawsuit is for millions.

It was received by the court on April 20. The next step is to set a quality date, it said. A Springer spokesman said: "We do not comment on ongoing legal proceedings."

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