Son of beer baron in battle with widow (28) over €18m


FRANKFURT – Investigations are continuing into the death of a 90-year-old German multimillionaire who died shortly after marrying a 26-year-old model who inherited his beer-brewing fortune, Frankfurt state prosecutors said yesterday.

Bruno Schubert, who made his millions with his family brewery Henninger, married Meharit Kifle, a Belgian model of Ethiopian origin, in August 2009 just months after his first wife had died. A Frankfurt court on Thursday named Ms Kifle sole heir of his €18 million estate.

Prosecutors are investigating the circumstances of his death following allegations made by Schubert’s 64-year-old son Hanns Peter Nerger that the beer baron died of dehydration or insufficient treatment, rather than natural causes.

In an interview last week with German tabloid Bild, Ms Kifle denied the allegations and said she cared for him up to the minute he died in October 2010.

“We’re still investigating and there’s still a fair bit to do,” a spokeswoman for the Frankfurt state prosecutor said. “Some witnesses have been interviewed.”

After his death a battle for Schubert’s fortune erupted between his widow, now 28, and his son, Nerger.

The case has electrified Germany’s tabloid media and is reminiscent of the late Anna Nicole Smith, a former topless dancer and PlayboyPlaymate, who married Texas billionaire J Howard Marshall in 1994 when she was 26 and he 89. Marshall died 14 months after they married and the legal battle over his inheritance was settled this year.

In Germany, Nerger said Schubert abruptly broke off contact with all friends and family following his marriage to Ms Kifle, whom he met in a bar where she worked as a cocktail waitress.

Ms Kifle has taken the unusual step of releasing a bedside video showing her and medical staff caring for him up to his death.

When the court ruled Schubert’s widow was the rightful heir to his fortune it also dismissed calls to postpone any ruling pending the outcome of the separate investigation by prosecutors into his death.

The beer baron had originally planned to leave his fortune to the Schubert Foundation before he changed his will following his marriage to Ms Kifle. – (Reuters)