He used to be one of Germany's most successful business men - but then his empire tumbled. Now former drugstore giant Anton Schlecker finds himself in the dock. Has he knowingly steered away money from his creditors?
Former German retail tycoon Anton Schlecker, whose drugstore chain at one point employed 55,000 people, on Monday faced trial in Stuttgart on bankruptcy charges.
Prosecutors accused him of having siphoned more than 20 million euros ($21.25 million) away from the business and out of reach of its creditors before it folded in 2012.
He is also supposed to have lied about business figures in financial statements and made false claims during insolvency proceedings.
Prison term looming
Schlecker's wife, his two kids and two auditors from accountancy firm Ernest and Young are also indicted for assisting him.
If convicted, the 72-year-old could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.
Schlecker founded his first drugstore in 1975 and quickly grew it into a chain with over 9,000 stores at one point.
Around 25,000 people in Germany and the same number abroad lost their jobs, when the business went bankrupt.
As of now, the trial is scheduled to continue through to October.
mrk/hg (dpa, AFP)