The accused Fuchsgruber has become known as the "Robin Hood of the retail investor". Whether Göttingen Group, Prokon or S&K – in the past decades there has hardly been a major investment scandal in which the 55-year-old private investigator did not get involved. Either he was chasing money and crooks on behalf of retail investors, or he explained the opaque corporate structures of the gray capital market as an expert on television.
His quotes and bon mots were succinct and funny. He once explained to the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”: “Tax saving is more important to Germans than sex. That is why fraudsters almost always advertise tax savings. ”But now Fuchsgruber has to answer for numerous fraud allegations.
Introduced in handcuffs
In the past, the private investigator only knew handcuffs on his opponents. His wrists were tied up on Wednesday morning when two judicial officers led him to room 137 of the Saarbrücken Regional Court. The detective sat on the dock, then prosecutor Krauth began reading the 32-page indictment.
Law enforcement officers have identified nearly 250 crimes they accuse him of in the past three years. In the majority, Fuchsgruber is said to have commercially cheated on his clients or misappropriated their funds. According to the investigative authority, he abused action groups he had founded and managed to protect investors.
Often things are said to be similar to the "Dominion" pyramid scheme, the main puller of which was sentenced in 2013 to more than eight years in prison. After investors feared high losses, they hired Fuchsgruber. The detective founded an action group for investors. Your admission and monthly fees are calculated based on the amount of the investment. A performance fee was also agreed.
In the case of “Dominion”, Fuchsgruber initially appeared to be successful. He made comparisons and judgments in the interests of investors and secured funds of around 1.5 million euros. But he then did not pass it on completely, said the prosecutor. "Fuchsgruber did not pay out in full, contractually agreed amounts." The detective finally only distributed around half of the saved money to the investors. The total damage on these charges alone is more than 600,000 euros.
For a good two hours, the prosecutor only read the names and amounts of the individual victims. Fuchsgruber listened largely motionless, sometimes taking notes. He looked exhausted. Although the scarf and glasses were reminiscent of earlier television appearances, only the gray stubble stubble did not fit.
Application for bias against the judges
After bursting on the first day of the trial last Tuesday and instead undergoing surgery for the court, the court took him into custody because of the risk of escape. When this point came up, the courtroom made a loud noise. Defense lawyer Jens Schmidt vehemently emphasized the urgency of the operation. "Mr. Fuchsgruber does not want to postpone the process in any way," he said, urging the judge to question the medical expert present and to release Fuchsgruber from prison.
The defense attorney filed a motion for bias against the chamber and offered as a "peace offer" to withdraw it if the detective was released. The judge declined to make a quick decision because the expert had to speak to the treating doctor first. A release on Wednesday was therefore no longer expected.
The detective's defense lawyers had spread optimism last week. "We are confident that a large part of the allegations will not be confirmed as part of the assessment of the evidence," said the Saarbrücken law firm Schmidt Rechtsanwälte.
Fuchsgruber has also denied the prosecution's allegations several times. He defended himself "fully", he last told the Handelsblatt in July 2018. "I would rate the negotiation as very exciting," he added ambiguously.
The defendant's companies are broke
For the private investigator, things are going miserably beyond the courtroom. He has been plagued by financial difficulties for years, which he always denies. In the summer of 2017, he said: "There is no real bankruptcy threat." Private bankruptcy followed a year later. According to the Saarbrücker Zeitung, creditors have filed claims of almost 800,000 euros.
His stud was closed and the official veterinarian fetched the horses from the farm. His companies are broke. As if that weren't enough, the prosecutor also accuses him of bankruptcy. He had not notified the M. Fuchsgruber GmbH and Fuchsgruber KG of the insolvency of the district court in good time. The detective is also said to have falsified account statements.
Fuchsgruber did not want to make a statement in court on Wednesday.
The process is scheduled until mid-March. The detective faces a longer prison sentence if convicted. One thing is already clear today: Many creditors will probably go away empty-handed. A victim from Thuringia told the Handelsblatt that he had won a title over 22,000 euros, but could not enforce it because of personal bankruptcy.
He has little hope of seeing the money again. "The only thing I hope from the process is that Fuchsgruber no longer has the opportunity to form interest groups and collect money for it," he said. He wants to go to Saarbrücken to deliver the verdict.
More: For a long time, Fuchsgruber was considered the "Robin Hood of the retail investor" because he chased cheaters of the gray capital market. But his image suffered a lot.