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VIP chief to stay in jail until trial

Schmid accused of fraud and tax evasion

BERLIN — Andreas Schmid, former head of legally troubled film fund operator VIP Medienfonds, will remain in jail until his case goes to trial, a Munich appellate has ruled.

Schmid was jailed seven months ago after police raided his home and VIP’s offices on suspicion of fraud and tax evasion.

One of Germany’s biggest funds, VIP bankrolled Hollywood and German pics such as “Ask the Dust,” “The Upside of Anger,” “Lord of War” and Tom Tykwer’s upcoming “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer.”

Lawyers for Schmid have argued he is innocent and that VIP’s method of film financing as well as its fund brochures met German tax requirements and were legally sound.

In a May 9 ruling, the court rejected evidence presented by Schmid’s lawyers, calling it insufficient.

The court ordered that Schmid remain behind bars until the case goes to trial and the company’s financial transactions are reviewed in full.

Schmid’s attorneys accused the court of dragging its feet on the case and are demanding that a full review be undertaken immediately in view of Schmid’s seven months of incarceration.

Prosecutors allege VIP defrauded investors who put millions in VIP funds believing they would get a tax break on their film investments. VIP did not place those investments directly in film production, authorities charge, but rather kept the money with banks in order to secure attractive investment guarantees, which, prosecutors argue, violated the law.

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