STUTTGART (Reuters) - The founding family behind German drugstore chain Schlecker, whose 2,800 stores closed in 2012, were sentenced over the company’s collapse by a German court on Monday.
The founder, 73-year-old former billionaire Anton Schlecker, received a suspended prison term of two years and a 54,000 euro (£48,280.61) fine for intentional bankruptcy, a milder sentence than the prosecution had demanded.
Prosecutors charged him with siphoning off millions of euros from the company even as its financial situation worsened, and had asked the regional court in Stuttgart for a three-year prison term.
Under German law, removing assets from a company that faces imminent bankruptcy is illegal and can result in a prison term of up to 10 years.
“He knew that company had reached the end of the line, and still kept hoping,” presiding judge Roderich Martis said on Monday.
The court sentenced his 46-year-old son Lars and daughter Meike, 44, to prison terms of 33 and 32 months, respectively, for delaying insolvency proceedings, embezzlement and being an accessory to bankruptcy.
Unlisted Schlecker filed for insolvency in January 2012, hit by competition from rivals Rossmann and dm and after failing to secure funding to upgrade its stores. All 2,800 stores closed that year, leaving around 23,000 employees out of work.
Reporting by Alexander Huebner; writing by Maria Sheahan; editing by Jason Neely