(Braunschweig) In April 2016, after a trial lasting four days, the 6th Criminal Bench of Braunschweig Regional Court found Schöningen businessman Peter S. guilty of crimes of attempting to deceive the court in three cases and in one of them, of aiding and abetting others in giving false testimony, and sentenced him to imprisonment for a term of one year and nine months, the sentence to be suspended for three years.
In 2008, Peter S. sold his company, which operated in the automotive industry, to the Beckum-based Blumenbecker Group. He himself stayed on at the company as its managing director, but rifts soon developed between him and the new owners, and the two sides decided to part company. As usual in such cases, this triggered a far-reaching clause in Peter S.’s employment contract, prohibiting him from engaging in competition with Blumenbecker for a period of two years.
However, the accused had no intention of complying with this agreement. At the end of 2008, together with two other partners, he founded a rival business. He thereby arranged for his own shares to be managed by a trustee, so that he himself never officially appeared. Inofficially, however, he poached both customers and personnel from Blumenbecker for his own new firm – though this could not initially be proven. But finally, in 2012, the accused fell out with one of his other partners, who then told all. Consequently, Blumenbecker sued Peter S. for millions of euros in compensation. The case dragged on for years, but the accused also persisted for years in asserting that all of the charges against him were false.
Later, however, through criminal charges which were brought against him, the public prosecutor’s office and the tax inspectorate were able to seize documents, making it possible to prove through written evidence that the former partner had been telling the truth all along, while Peter S. had been lying.
Admission of guilt in court
Addressing the 6th Criminal Bench in Braunschweig, Peter S., who has meanwhile built up a new group of companies employing 170 people, made a statement in which he admitted having deceived the court in several cases by making false statements with the aim of averting the legal action by the Blumenbecker Group. He also confessed having aided and abetted the managing director of his business, Holger H., in giving unsworn false testimony in his favour. The Regional Court also handed down a suspended prison sentence against Holger H. for giving false testimony.
As the lawyers of Peter S. have filed an appeal against the ruling of the court, the judgement is not yet valid. Should the judgement become valid, Peter S. will have a criminal record and will therefore be barred from holding a senior management position for a period of five years. And if he were to give any further false testimony in the civil actions brought against him by the Blumenbecker Group and still ongoing, he would breach the conditions of his suspended sentence. In the civil actions, Blumenbecker is claiming compensation from the defendant in a seven-figure sum for pecuniary losses. Peter S. must therefore reckon with costs on a substantial scale, as well as a penalty for breach of his contract.