Reemtsma kidnapper: Was Drach planning another kidnapping?


Status: 06/24/2022 3:29 p.m

The former Reemtsma kidnapper Drach is said to have planned robberies and new kidnappings of rich women, according to a fellow inmate. Skepticism is appropriate. Or not?

By Holger Schmidt, ARD expert on terrorism and internal security

For months, the Cologne district court has been hearing about the question of whether Thomas Drach, who became known as the kidnapper of Jan Philipp Reemtsma, robbed several money transporters after his prison sentence. Drach is silent in his trial, but is said to have revealed himself to a fellow inmate while in custody and admitted some of the crimes.

On Monday, this man will testify in the Drach trial. To SWR-Information is to be expected while curious details. For example, that Drach had a mobile phone available while he was in custody. But is the man by the name of Mark D. telling the truth? And if so: Is what Thomas Drach said to him true?

Too big and too complex

“I don’t want to say anything about it,” says attorney Peter Nickel, the witness’s attorney, about his client’s upcoming testimony in the Drach trial. It’s too big and too complex. He asks for your understanding. Between the lines one can hear concerns about his mandate. In fact, Mark D. seems to have gotten himself into trouble with all sorts of heavyweights in the criminal milieu between Germany and the Netherlands – because he has made statements to the police and in court several times in his proceedings and brought other accused convictions.

For example, 2016. Newspaper reports about his trial at that time before the district court in Kleve, just a few kilometers from the Dutch border, make it clear that D. was very willing to provide information and with his statements “set the ball rolling”, in which he “as first let down my pants”. The prosecutor who was investigating at the time is quoted as saying. Nevertheless, D. was sentenced to a long prison term of six years for a series of blown up ATMs, in which – according to the verdict – the acts had become more dangerous from time to time. However, no money was stolen from a single blast. Thomas Drach’s defender finds this “amazing”.

Mutual criminal friends

Nevertheless, it is easy to imagine that such a judgment made an impression on a serious criminal like Drach. However, it is said that the decisive factor for the rapprochement of the two was that Drach and Mark D. had made some mutual friends in the German-Dutch scene. And then, according to legal circles, Drach chatted “open-heartedly” to D. About his own actions, for which he is currently on trial. About his life. And about what else he was up to and a cell phone that was secretly available to him in the strictly secured detention center. At least D. claimed all of this to the authorities.

Pull your head out of the noose

Drach’s lawyer, Andreas Kerkhof, weighs it down. Drach never spoke to the man. The witness is “a braggart who tries to pull his head out of the noose at the expense of third parties,” he said SWR. In fact, Mark D. is threatened with a long prison sentence again in a new trial for drug smuggling. And again he is said to have betrayed his accomplices.

But does that diminish his credibility? The story of the common group of friends is plausible according to initial police investigations. Apparently, Drach and D. were actually housed in the same building (“House 4”) of the JVA – with a few other prisoners. Inevitably they had to meet there. The alleged mobile phone was also found during a cell search. Investigators who know Drach from the current trial or from the kidnapping of Reemtsma at the time already consider him a notorious career criminal. Another kidnapping plan would not be particularly surprising.

Susanne Klatten or the richest woman in the world?

Mark D. himself does not want to know exactly who the victim should have been. It should have been one of the richest women in Europe, Drach would have wanted to make 30 million euros. Originally it was about the “woman from BMW”, later about a very rich French woman. It is obvious that the investigators are thinking here of Susanne Klatten from Bad Homburg and Fran├žoise Bettencourt-Meyers from France, who is considered the richest woman in the world. But how concrete were these plans? D. probably only says that Drach was looking for a hiding place in Switzerland, but his arrest intervened.

With such information, the court and investigators will always have basic experience from the penal system in mind: people from prison often offer themselves as witnesses in sensational trials and report what they claim to have learned while walking in the yard or having lunch. Sometimes what such witnesses say is true. Not infrequently, however, the impression arises in court that a change from everyday prison life, pompousness, revenge or speculating on advantages in prison are the motive for such “self-providers”. The judges are therefore advised to be careful, even if some of D.’s statements have already turned out to be correct.

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