Now it's official: Star chef Alfons Schuhbeck has to go to prison. The Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe largely confirmed the judgment of the Munich I Regional Court, as the BGH announced on Monday in Karlsruhe. The 74-year-old was sentenced to three years and two months in prison last October for tax evasion amounting to millions. The BGH ruled that this judgment was "essentially final".
"Mr. Alfons Schuhbeck has made use of his legitimate legal remedies and accepts the decision of the Federal Court of Justice," said Schuhbeck's attorney Ali B. Norouzi on Monday. "Already in the proceedings before the Munich District Court, Mr. Schuhbeck underlined that he takes responsibility and is trying to make up for the damage in full."
According to the BGH's decision, however, the Munich I Regional Court had to renegotiate aspects of asset confiscation - "because not all the information needed to calculate the defendant's income tax liabilities had been ascertained". Asset confiscation is when the authorities take away from a convict what he has stolen through a crime.
Date of incarceration unclear
The question of when exactly Schuhbeck has to be behind bars is still unclear. According to lawyer Norouzi, the BGH's decision means that the cook will remain at large until a new decision has been taken on the confiscation of assets. The Munich I public prosecutor's office, which is responsible for the execution of sentences in this case, sees it differently: "The time of the start of imprisonment is independent of the renegotiation of the confiscation, it does not change as a result," said a spokeswoman.
First of all, the public prosecutor's office must now get the investigation files back from the court. "As soon as the file is available to the magistrate responsible here, he can initiate enforcement," said the spokeswoman on request. "Then the convict will be summoned to begin prison." How long it will take for the file to be returned to the public prosecutor's office, but "takes a different amount of time from case to case".
According to a spokeswoman for the Munich I Regional Court, it is possible in principle to start enforcing the legally binding part of a judgment, even if a decision has yet to be made about another part.
Before the ruins of a great, long career
According to the court, Schuhbeck evaded 2.3 million euros, and according to current case law, a prison sentence is almost unavoidable from a million euros. Schuhbeck had appealed the verdict, unlike the public prosecutor.
After the verdict and the bankruptcy of his restaurants, Schuhbeck is faced with the ruins of a great, long career. Only his spice shops, which are managed by the Schuhbecks Company, remain. Most recently, a lawsuit about the eviction of his private apartment in downtown Munich was to be heard at the Munich District Court - which, however, never came to pass.
According to Schuhbeck's other lawyer, Markus Hennig, they want to reach an out-of-court settlement with the landlord. The talks are currently ongoing, said Hennig on Monday.
The goal is for the 74-year-old to be able to stay in his apartment, the lawyer said at the beginning of June. The agreement should not only include his private apartment, but also the spice shop operated by the Schuhbecks Company, which is located in the same building.
After the verdict, there was also trouble with the landlord, the Messerschmitt Foundation, because of his Munich spice shop. The Munich spice shop is still open, and Schuhbeck is again offering cooking classes there.