×

Schmid found guilty of tax fraud

Film fund exec sentenced to six years in jail

In one of Germany’s biggest tax fraud cases, Andreas Schmid, the founder and former topper of private film investment fund VIP Medienfonds, has been sentenced to six years in prison for tax evasion.

Schmid’s one-time partner and former VIP chief exec Andreas Grosch was sentenced to two years probation.

Under Schmid, VIP raised E630 million ($920 million) from thousands of German investors to bankroll international and domestic productions including the Roland Emmerich-produced “Trade,” helmer Tom Tykwer’s “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer,” helmer Paul Verhoeven’s “Black Book,” Josh Hartnett starrer “Lucky Number Slevin” and teen spy actioner “Stormbreaker.”

VIP attracted some 10,000 high-bracketed investors who believed their investments in film production were tax deductible.

The court found that VIP used only 20% of funds for film production, keeping the rest in bank accounts to collect interest and secure bank guaranties. This excludes investors from fully writing off their investment, as the coin was not all used for film production.

“Both of the defendants knew that the information in the tax statements were false,” said presiding Munich regional court judge Huberta Knoeringer at Tuesday’s ruling.

Schmid and Grosch must now pay back millions in back taxes.

The ruling is a boost for irate VIP investors, who face millions of euros owed in back taxes as a result of their investments.

They are seeking damages from Schmid and a number of banks that marketed VIP funds, including the Commerzbank, Dresdner Bank and the HypoVereinsbank. The court’s decision is likely to strengthen their claims for damages.

Schmid, who is expected to appeal, has already been in jail for more than two years, initially at the request of prosecutors who feared he would flee the country while they probed VIP, and throughout the seven-month trial. The time he served will be credited to his sentence.

Schmid was freed on $5.8 million bail until the commencement of his sentence.

More Film

  • Parasite Movie

    'Parasite' Enjoys Record Box Office Boost After Oscar Wins

    Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” is reaping box office riches after its groundbreaking Oscar best picture win. The twisted South Korean thriller collected $5.5 million over the weekend, an exceptional 234% increase in ticket sales and the biggest post-Oscar boost for a best picture winner in the past decade. In the seven days since the Academy [...]

  • Nikita Pearl Waligwa

    Nikita Pearl Waligwa, Actor in Disney's 'Queen of Katwe,' Dies at 15

    Nikita Pearl Waligwa, an actor who appeared in Disney’s biographical drama “Queen of Katwe,” has died, according to BBC and the Ugandan newspaper Daily Monitor. She was 15. Waligwa had been diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2016 and seemed to recover a year later. However, in 2019, another tumor was found. “Queen of Katwe” [...]

  • James Marsden and Sonic (Ben Schwartz)

    'Sonic the Hedgehog' Dominates Box Office With Mighty $57 Million Debut

    Paramount’s family film “Sonic the Hedgehog” ignited over Presidents’ Day weekend with $57 million in North America and $100 million globally, the biggest showing ever for a video game adaptation. “Sonic” is expected to earn $68-70 million through Monday, one of the best results for the holiday weekend. The better-than-expected start is even more notable [...]

  • Shaun the sheep

    How '80s Sci-Fi Films Inspired 'Shaun the Sheep: Farmageddon'

    Shaun, everyone’s favorite sheep, is back, and this time he’s facing aliens and robots in “A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon.” Directors Will Becher and Richard Phelan teamed together on this film for their first full-length collaboration. While the two have been working at Aardman Studios, Phelan’s background was as a story artist and Becher’s [...]

  • Sonic (Ben Schwartz) in SONIC THE

    Box Office: 'Sonic the Hedgehog' Speeding to $65 Million Opening Weekend

    “Sonic the Hedgehog” is speeding to a $65 million opening at the North American box office this President’s Day weekend, according to estimates. Paramount’s action-adventure, based on the Sega video game character, had been pegged to generate $40-45 million prior to its launch. Should estimates hold, it could break the $54 million record set last [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content