Process in Munich: Alfons Schuhbeck confesses

Turnaround in the trial against Alfons Schuhbeck: The star chef accused of tax evasion made a wide-ranging confession before the Munich I Regional Court.

Process in Munich: Alfons Schuhbeck confesses

Turnaround in the trial against Alfons Schuhbeck: The star chef accused of tax evasion made a wide-ranging confession before the Munich I Regional Court.

"I did some things wrong," he said on Wednesday. "I fooled myself, my friends and acquaintances and also my defense lawyers until the very end because I didn't want to admit that my business had failed." That became particularly clear to him "when I entered this room for the first time".

A computer tool for tax evasion

In his "Orlando" restaurant, he "repeatedly used the opportunity to reduce sales" and thereby took money out of the cash register, said Schuhbeck. The public prosecutor accuses the 73-year-old of using a computer program to smuggle revenue past the tax office. In total, there are more than 2.3 million euros in taxes that Schuhbeck is said to have evaded between 2009 and 2016 in the "Orlando" and the "Südtiroler Stuben".

His defense attorneys said at the start of the process that they see "doubts and inconsistencies" in the allegations against their client: "It may turn out at the end of the process that Mr. Schuhbeck is not the perpetrator but a victim himself, because not only the tax authorities, but first he was deceived."

This tool was available in one of his restaurants, but Schuhbeck has now confirmed it. The statements made by his former IT specialist, who weighed heavily on his boss at the start of the trial last week, are "on the whole correct". "Quick, quick, zack-zack and gone," Schuhbeck described deleting transactions on the computer.

For the second restaurant, the "Südtiroler Stuben", where, according to the public prosecutor's office, he is also said to have taken money from the cash register, he took "responsibility" - without specifically admitting that he also made cash disappear there. He kept citing gaps in memory: "I can't remember the details." He didn't manipulate any cash registers there. He no longer knows whether he manipulated something on the computer. In addition, there were always technical problems and difficulties with the transmission.

However, 1,200 invoice numbers are said to have disappeared there alone, as the authorities accuse Schuhbeck. "That doesn't mean that the cable was kinked all the time," said presiding judge Andrea Wagner.

He plugged financial holes

If the prosecutor's allegations are correct, Schuhbeck must have taken several million from the cash register. Schuhbeck said he couldn't explain where all the money went. Above all, he "stuffed financial holes and supported my children in their education". He wanted to enable them to study, which he was unable to complete himself.

"I didn't squander the money on a life of luxury (...)," says Schuhbeck. "I don't play either." He doesn't have any "other vices" either. "I haven't buried any foreign accounts or anything else." He bought antiques, said Schuhbeck. But today they are not worth as much as hoped.

"If I could undo it, I would do it immediately," said Schuhbeck. "I stand before the ruins of my life's work."

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