Not just any client. But Erich Marx’s. The former building contractor and well-known art collector, who celebrates his 99th birthday in April 2020, is one of the 1000 richest Germans. And Hartmut Fromm was commissioned to legally secure the assets, which are said to be in the high three-digit million range.
But by 2018 at the latest, Erich Marx had doubts about Fromm’s trustworthiness. At least that’s what his lawyers describe in their criminal charges, which they filed for Marx in September. One of the core allegations: Fromm allegedly, with the help of Marx’s 46-year-old ex-lover, unauthorizedly branched out several million euros through complicated corporate and voting rights constructions.
A few weeks ago, Erich Marx is said to have made further accusations, which are now apparently sufficient for an arrest warrant. Specifically, it is about a share participation of Erich Marx in the amount of 40 million euros, which should have been postponed. The public prosecutor’s office has not yet responded to a demand for this.
A spokesman for Fromms commented when asked: “Hartmut Fromm is currently making unsustainable accusations in his role as managing director of Dr. Erich Marx GmbH made. He is firmly convinced that the criminal complaint will be refuted. This will take some time because a detention review will only take place two weeks after the application is made. ”
In addition to Fromm, another partner from his nationwide Buse Heberer Fromm law firm is also in custody, who was also involved in advising Marx. He was arrested on Wednesday, and Fromm surrendered to the authorities on Thursday. The law firm commented: We firmly believe that the criminal complaint and the warrant are legally and actually refuted. The business shares at stake are still with the company, so this could not have caused any damage.
Arrest warrant is said to have been issued against Marx’s former partner. She is currently said to be in Poland. Her lawyer has not yet responded to the request. However, he too had recently rejected the allegations against his client.
Established relationship of trust
Marx had turned to Fromm eight years ago with a complicated mandate. A close relationship of trust grew out of this advisory mandate in the following years. What happened next, there are two very different versions: one is presented by the law firm Danckert Bärlein Sättele, which represents the interests of Marx. She argues that the aged patron was perfidiously duped – by his trust lawyer and the woman he loved. In cooperation with the third party in the alliance, Fromms’ partner, they should have sought to take control of Marx´ behind his back.
The other version of the story, which comes from the Fromms law firm, is aimed at the fact that the structures created by the lawyers aim to protect the property of the entrepreneur, partly also against his own family. And that may be the reason for Erich Marx’s approach to his children who live in Switzerland and who should act on him in order to secure more of his inheritance. These could even hold him in Switzerland, it is said behind the scenes.
Fromm’s law firm sharply attacks the authorities: “The public prosecutor and the investigating judge were not ready in the short term to critically review the facts submitted to them and insisted on the existence of an urgent suspicion.”
Despite full cooperation, the public prosecutor’s office forced the two partners of the law firm into custody with the allegation of an alleged risk of escape, even though Hartmut Fromm voluntarily surrendered to the public prosecutor’s office.
More: The Middelhoff case. On the trail of the millions.