5 Formula 1

Michael Schumacher, Formula 1 icon. © AFP / PATRIK STOLLARZ

Terrible blackmail against the Schumacher family

The Schumacher family became the target of a terrible blackmail operation. The suspects have now been arrested.

Criminals are said to have attempted to blackmail the family of former Formula 1 world champion Michael Schumacher. The perpetrators claimed to family employees that they had files that the family might be interested in not publishing, said senior public prosecutor Wolf-Tilman Baumert in Wuppertal on Monday. His office is currently "intensively" investigating the case, the public prosecutor's office said.

The alleged perpetrators are said to have demanded a payment in the millions - otherwise they would publish the data on the darknet. They sent some files to the family as proof. The public prosecutor's office did not initially provide any further details, such as the type of files. The family did not comment on the case when asked by the German Press Agency. A spokeswoman for RTL referred to the ongoing investigations.

Formula 1 record world champion Michael Schumacher. © AFP / FRED DUFOUR

According to the public prosecutor's office, "technical measures" made it possible to determine that the suspected blackmailers were operating from Wuppertal. Two men, aged 53 and 30, from the town in the Bergisches Land region were arrested as suspects - father and son. They were arrested on June 19 in a supermarket parking lot in Gross-Gerau in Hesse.

They are currently in custody. "If convicted, they face a fine or a prison sentence of up to five years," said senior public prosecutor Baumert. The two are also no strangers to the police: they are currently on probation in another case, said Baumert.

Not the first blackmail attempt

Formula 1 record world champion Michael Schumacher was seriously injured in a skiing accident at the end of 2013. He has not appeared in public since then. This is not the first attempt to blackmail the former racing driver's family. In 2017, the Reutlingen district court in Baden-Württemberg sentenced a 25-year-old man for attempting to blackmail Schumacher's wife, Corinna Schumacher, for 900.000 euros.

He had threatened that otherwise something would happen to the children. The man was given a suspended sentence of 21 months. The painter had given his real account number at a German bank in an email to Corinna Schumacher. This meant that the police were able to track him down within minutes.

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