In the case of the missing billionaire Karl-Erivan Haub, the Cologne public prosecutor’s office refused to cancel the declaration of death. “There were no concrete indications that could be checked that the missing person survived beyond the time of the declaration of death,” the Cologne authority told the star. The requirements for an application for annulment of the declaration of death are therefore not met.

Haub has been missing since a ski trip on the Matterhorn in 2018 and was pronounced dead by Cologne District Court in May 2021. However, exclusive research by RTL and the star indicated that the former Tengelmann boss could still be alive. RTL investigative porter Liv von Boetticher had received indications that he was said to have been in Moscow at least temporarily in 2021 – and that the family was aware of it. Among them were photos from Moscow, but also information on payments made by the brother and current Tengelmann boss Christian Haub to two internal investigators who had investigated the death of Karl-Erivan Haub and wanted to prove that he was still alive. According to information from Tengelmann circles, these payments were a performance-related payment.

Von Boetticher handed over her research documents to the Cologne public prosecutor, who initiated a review of the death declaration in May. “Information about the photos frequently mentioned in media reporting was also the subject of the examination. These should come from 2021 and presumably show the person who was declared dead,” the authority now explained. “However, since the recordings are neither available nor can they be obtained, the existence, authenticity and time of the recordings cannot be verified.”

For von Boetticher, the decision of the public prosecutor’s office raises more questions than it answers: “I am irritated that at least one witness who had access to the photos has not yet been contacted by the Cologne public prosecutor’s office,” she told the star. It is not known whether any witnesses were heard at all. The authority had not issued a statement for weeks and attempts to contact RTL had been unsuccessful.

In May, the journalist also submitted a nine-page criminal complaint against Christian Haub to the Cologne public prosecutor’s office for false affidavit with detailed offers of evidence. From a legal point of view, however, this procedure remains unaffected by the decision of the public prosecutor’s office on the declaration of death. It is still unclear how the authority will decide.

Meanwhile, von Boetticher continues to refer to photos that are said to have been obtained with the help of an Israeli-American company in February 2021 via Moscow’s biometric surveillance system. The investigative agency had previously been commissioned by Christian Haub to provide the “final proof” that his brother Karl-Erivan was still alive. This was linked to a performance-related payment in the millions, which, according to witnesses, was paid out to Tengelmann’s head of security in 2021. A corresponding significant increase in the balance sheet is to be proven in the company of the head of security via the Federal Gazette. It is also not known how the public prosecutor’s office dealt with this further offer of evidence.

Transparency note: Like the broadcaster RTL and the streaming service RTL, the star belongs to Bertelsmann.