“I did some things wrong”: Alfons Schuhbeck makes partial confession

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“I did something wrong”
Alfons Schuhbeck makes a partial confession

The trial of Alfons Schuhbeck in Munich takes a surprising turn. The celebrity chef admits he deliberately manipulated sales at one of his restaurants to evade taxes. He had “failed entrepreneurially,” he admits. He now faces jail time.

Star chef Alfons Schuhbeck, accused of tax evasion in the millions, has made a partial confession to the Munich I Regional Court. He admitted to rigging sales at one of his restaurants and taking money from cash registers. “I did a few things wrong,” the 73-year-old admitted.

Schuhbeck explained that he was a passionate cook. Still, he had to admit: “I fooled myself, my friends and acquaintances, as well as my lawyers to the very end, because I didn’t want to admit that I had failed entrepreneurially.”

Schuhbeck, who is not least known for television shows and many cookbooks, continued: “If I could undo something, I would do it right away – but I have to admit to myself that I’m not a good businessman.” After the bankruptcy of his company last year and the current indictment: “I am faced with the ruins of my life’s work,” he said resignedly.

Software used for manipulation

The prosecutor accuses Schuhbeck of manipulating sales in his two restaurants in Munich between 2009 and 2016 by millions and thereby evading more than 2.3 million euros in taxes. Schuhbeck has now admitted to using a computer tool at his Munich restaurant “Orlando” that allowed him to manipulate sales. The statements of his former IT specialist, who had weighed heavily on his boss at the beginning of the process, are “generally correct”.

For his restaurant “Südtiroler Stuben” in Munich, Schuhbeck rejected the accusations. He couldn’t even use the cash register there. So he couldn’t explain how the money had disappeared there. However, he could not rule out the fact that no sales were reported there either. Schuhbeck admitted that as director he also had to bear the tax consequences for this restaurant.

Regarding the unresolved question of where the money went, Schuhbeck explained that he mostly closed the financial gaps in his numerous companies. He also gave his four children money for education and study, but not large amounts. Among other things, he wanted to enable them to study, which he could not complete himself. After all, with the money he bought antiques time and time again, but according to the star chef, they are not worth much anymore.

“I can’t explain where all the money went,” Schuhbeck said. “I didn’t waste the money on a life of luxury (…)”, he claimed. “I don’t play either.” He also has no “other vices”.

“I have no foreign accounts”

Schuhbeck vigorously rejected the court’s allegation from the beginning of the trial a week ago that he had contacts in the Caribbean and may have shifted money there. “I haven’t buried any foreign accounts or anything,” he explained. Although he was supposed to get money from lenders in the Caribbean in 2015 as part of a debt restructuring, the financing has not materialized. This was the only way he could explain the connections to the Caribbean expressed by the court.

Schuhbeck could face jail time. The standard for tax offenses is that evasion of one million euros or more will result in a prison sentence without probation. For the possible fine for the admitted Schuhbeck, it is now decisive what amount of tax evasion can ultimately be proven.

Schuhbeck’s lawyers said that in the restaurant “Südtiroler Stuben” it was simply not possible to determine why invoices were missing from the sales figures. According to the court, 1,200 sales invoices were missing in one year alone. The process is expected to last until just before Christmas.

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