German tycoon in fraud trial with family

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A former giant of German retail – Anton Schlecker – has gone on trial with his wife and two children over the collapse of his pharmacy chain, which once employed some 50,000 people.

Mr Schlecker is accused of offences relating to the 2012 bankruptcy, and his family allegedly helped him. His shops sold personal hygiene goods and household articles.

But his lawyers said the accusations are unfounded.

He could get up to 10 years in jail.

In 2012 Schlecker stores closed all over Germany.

In Germany about 25,000 Schlecker staff lost their jobs, as did a similar number elsewhere in Europe, after the business filed for bankruptcy.

According to Stuttgart prosecutors, Mr Schlecker knew that bankruptcy was looming and siphoned off more than €20m (£17m; $21m) in assets, which would otherwise have gone to creditors.

He is accused of having made false statements about the company’s financial situation.

Mr Schlecker’s lawyer argues that his client did not imagine that the business was facing collapse.

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