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Last Updated: Monday, 25 August, 2003, 11:00 GMT 12:00 UK
Ex-Mobilcom chief in fraud charge
Gerhard Schmid
Mr Schmid was one of Europe's leading high tech tycoons
Gerhard Schmid, the colourful founder and former chairman of telephone operator Mobilcom, has been charged with fraud.

The charges are in connection with a controversial share option scheme Mr Schmid carried out with his wife in 2001, when he was still at the helm of the company.

Public prosecutors in Kiel, western Germany, launched an investigation after Mr Schmid paid 71m euros to Millennium GMBH, a company controlled by his wife, Cybille Schmid-Sindram.

The money was to compensate Mrs Schmid-Sindram for some of her Mobilcom shares, which Mr Schmid used to finance a stock option programme.

'Complex case'

Mobilcom's supervisory board cancelled the programme last year after they found Mr Schmid had not sufficiently informed officials of the payment.

Mr Schmid was then ousted from the company,following a long and bitter battle for control with its former shareholder France Telecom.

The former high tech mogul has been charged with negligence and 22 counts of breach of trust, between July 2001 and January 2002.

The Kiel district court will now examine whether to open full proceedings.

Mr Schmid is expected to ask the court to throw the charges out.

A statement issued by his lawyer, Professor Erich Samson, said the case was a "complex question of the legal valuation of a stock option business".

Mr Schmid set up Mobilcom in 1991, and became one of Europe's leading hi-tech tycoons when the firm's shares soared seven-fold on their flotation in 1997.

But he lost the confidence of the markets in 2000, after Mobilcom's shares touched a high of 112 euros.

He declared himself bankrupt earlier this year.

Mobilcom tycoon goes bust
17 Feb 03  |  Business
Mobilcom chief raises cash demand
11 Jul 02  |  Business

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