Billionaire Aldi Family Fortune to hit German court as son sues mother for embezzlement: reports

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The fortune of Aldi supermarket co-founder Theo Albrecht is set to be debated in a German court after grandson Nicolay Albrecht accused his mother Babette Albrecht and three sisters of taking money from the family trust, according to the reports. media.

German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported Thursday that Nicolay Albrecht, grandson of co-founder Theo Albrecht, accuses his mother and sisters of embezzling funds and withdrawing millions of dollars from a family trust that holds the family fortune. The Guardian and the London Times also reported the news.

The criminal complaint was reportedly filed in August by Nicolay, who alleges breach of trust in one of the family’s notorious trusts, which owns the shares inherited from Theo’s Aldi Nord group. Nicolay’s mother, Babette, is the widow of Berthold Albrecht. Berthold’s father, Theo Albrecht, died in 2010, leaving an estimated fortune of $ 16.7 billion to his sons Theo Jr. and Berthold, who died in 2012. The fortune, under the leadership of Theo Albrecht Jr, has since been increased to $ 21.2 billion, Forbes estimations.

Of Babette’s five children, one son and three daughters were born quadrupled and are now 30 years old, while a younger daughter is 28, according to media reports. The son, Nicolay, alleges his mother and sisters used their top numbers in the boardroom to withdraw millions from the family trust.

The conflict, which has spanned many chapters, pits the cost-conscious elders who built Aldi against the younger generation who inherited the wealth.

In May 2016, an interview in German magazine Stern shocked the country as Theo Albrecht Jr. accused Babette, his brother’s wife and children, of using “the assets,” The Times reported, the original interview. not available online.

“I am very sad that Babette and her children do not want to accept her husband’s will and founding status and are fighting against it,” he said. Stern alleged that $ 88 million (€ 75 million) was withdrawn from the foundation in 2013, 2014 and 2015, the Times reported.

A lawyer for the Albrecht family did not respond to the comments. In 2019, the family denied any wrongdoing in a statement to the Guardian.

The controversy over family trusts and the various attempts to ditch the tightly knit purse strings around them accelerated in 2018 when family matriarch Cäcilie Albrecht, wife of Theo Sr., passed away. In his will, years of animosity fell apart with Cäcilie accusing the heirs (when details of his last will were made public in a court in Essen in February 2019) of living lavish lifestyles rather than living in the tradition of Aldi and Albrecht, means deemed frugal. Cäcilie is said to have banned Berthold’s offspring and his daughter-in-law Babette from occupying future roles in the company.

In her will, reported by the Guardian in April 2019, she wrote: “With this document, I pledge to ensure the preservation of our family’s philosophy, which is to serve the Aldi North Consortium and to foster this, by at the same time as putting aside personal interests and practicing a modest and sober lifestyle.

Upon reading the will, Babette and the family denied any wrongdoing. In 2019 Andreas Urban, the lawyer representing Babette and her children, told the Guardian: “Piety and decency dictate that this will should not be publicly evaluated. Adding that “the heirs of Berthold Albrecht have always been concerned … for the well-being of Aldi Nord.”

Forbes has contacted Aldi Nord in Germany for comment.

Fortune of the Aldi family

Aldi is today known as a popular economy supermarket with more than 10,000 stores in 20 countries. In the United States, Trader Joe’s is known for its low prices. The family behind Aldi and Trader Joe’s, the Albrechts, is well known as one of the wealthiest families in Europe.

Aldi stores posted 2018 global sales of over $ 30 billion in Germany, while the UK has become another massive market for Aldi with revenue of $ 12 billion.

The family fortune was built by Theo and his older brother Karl after their liberation from a POW camp after being drafted under General Erwin Rommel in North Africa before being captured by Italian troops in 1945 , according to Theo’s obituary in The Guardian. in 2010.

While their father worked in a coal mine, their mother ran a small grocery store where the brothers worked after school in the years before the war.

After the war, the brothers returned home to Essen, West Germany, and found their small shop in good condition. Thus began the rise and rise of the Albrecht dynasty, where food in Aldi stores was sold straight from the box, stacked without marketing and at low prices, compared to competing stores selling products. fresh. The term Aldi is an abbreviation of the surname “Albrecht” and “Discount” and the ethos survives in its stores today.

In June 2019, Aldi opened two stores in China and the Financial Times reported from Shanghai that hundreds of people were lining up to enter. Zhou Youhua, a retired doctor, told the FT that, like many buyers of Aldi around the world, “we came here for German products and cheap beer.”

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