German Aldi heirs win 19m euros in art dealer damages
THE heirs to the Aldi supermarket empire in Germany have won €19.4m (£15m) in damages in a civil case against art dealer Helge Achenbach.
A court in Duesseldorf ruled that he had made unauthorised charges on the purchase of paintings and vintage cars on behalf of Berthold Albrecht.
Mr Albrecht died in 2012. His father Theo built the Aldi Nord empire.
Mr Achenbach is also accused separately of fraud in a criminal trial in Essen. He denies the charges. In the civil case, Mr Achenbach was found to have charged unauthorised levels of commission when acting as a dealer on the purchase of 14 paintings and nine cars just before Berthold Albrecht died.
He argued that he had a verbal agreement with the Aldi owner for the extra commission he received.
However the judge agreed with the Albrecht family that no such arrangement existed.
In the parallel trial in Essen on Monday, Mr Albrecht’s widow Babette specified that there had been a verbal agreement that the dealer could take a 5% commission.
However, he is accused of doctoring accounts and receipts for the amount he paid, sometimes by at least €1m.
Mr Achenbach is currently being held in custody pending the outcome of the criminal trial and could appeal against the civil ruling.