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Start of the Hells Angels trial against organized crime in Spain

MADRID– Prosecutors on Monday requested a 13-year prison sentence for a former Hells Angels leader in Europe, accused of leading a chapter of the motorcycle club linked to organized crime on the Spanish island of Mallorca.

German national Frank Hanebuth appeared in court alongside 49 alleged collaborators from numerous countries, at least 34 of whom accepted a plea deal allowing them to pay fines instead of serving their sentences. Hanebuth did not seek agreement.

Some of the defendants were of German, Greek or British origin and needed an interpreter to follow the developments, which were taking place in Spanish. Three of the defendants participated via video call from Germany.

Spanish prosecutors charged Hanebuth with membership in a criminal organization, money laundering and illegal possession of firearms. They are also asking the judge in charge of the trial to impose a fine of 4.5 million dollars (4.2 million euros) on him for money laundering.

In addition to belonging to a criminal organization, other defendants have been accused of running a prostitution and drug trafficking network, and face up to 38 years in prison.

The Hells Angels carried out illegal activities in Mallorca from 2009 to 2013 under the direction of Hanebuth, according to the indictment. Hanebuth named members who then committed crimes including extortion, pimping, acquiring illegal firearms and theft from popular tourist spots, prosecutors said.

They also moved into real estate in Mallorca and the neighboring island of Ibiza, prosecutors said. The defendant did not limit himself to driving Harley-Davidsons: one of Hanebuth’s co-defendants was cited for driving a Bentley at 125 mph (200 km/h) in a 75 mph speed zone (120 km/h).

Hells Angels in Europe allegedly chose Mallorca for their illegal activities due to the large presence of foreign residents and the existence of other money laundering and drug trafficking schemes on the island, prosecutors say in the statement. ‘indictment.

The Mallorca chapter of the gang was heavily international, with recruits from as far away as the Dominican Republic and Morocco, according to the indictment.

One of the defendants who reached a plea deal was Paul Witworth, a British associate of Hanebuth who prosecutors say maintained ties to the Adams family, a notorious British gang also known as the Clerkenwell Crime Syndicate.

Hanebuth also tracked its German base in Hanover, prosecutors said.

The trial is expected to last several weeks.


An earlier version of this story has been corrected to show that Hanebuth is no longer a leader of the Hells Angels.

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