This article is adapted from the business magazine Capital and is available here for ten days. Afterwards it will only be available to read at Like stern, Capital belongs to RTL Deutschland.

More than a year after the spectacular break-in at a Berlin safe, in which thieves are said to have stolen 996 luxury watches from the online retailer Watchmaster as well as other items worth 49 million euros, there is a new lead:

According to information from Capital, the Berlin public prosecutor’s office is investigating the then Watchmaster managing director Tim-Hendrik M. and another employee of the company on suspicion of insurance fraud. This was confirmed by a spokeswoman for the Berlin Public Prosecutor’s Office.

The prosecutors had apparently already initiated investigations against the two managers in November 2023 after suspicious WhatsApp chats between them and the operator of the safe system were evaluated. This emerges from court documents that Capital has now been able to view. All three are presumed innocent until they are convicted.

So far, the investigation has focused primarily on Tresor boss Thomas S., who admitted to an inside job during his interrogation. He accumulated debts with members of a large Arab family and facilitated the break-in in order to pay them off. A criminal trial is currently underway at the Berlin Regional Court against him and four other suspects.

Watchmaster is currently considered a victim in this process, as are hundreds of customers of the watch trading platform. The company filed for bankruptcy a few days after the break-in on November 19, 2022. The start-up and its customers are still waiting for the insurance sum of around 14.4 million euros for the missing watches.

Insolvency administrator Philipp Hackländer therefore filed a civil lawsuit against Mannheimer Versicherung – but was unsuccessful. According to the ruling available to Capital, the insurance company may postpone settlement of the claim until the investigation is completed.

Hackländer rates the verdict as a “definitely controversial result.” Nevertheless, we will accept it. With regard to customers, “insurance regulation is not expected in the short term”. In his opinion, the investigation into suspected insurance fraud was “just a sideshow.”

Mannheimer Versicherung did not want to comment on the verdict and referred to the ongoing proceedings. Former Watchmaster boss Tim-Hendrik M. left a request for comment unanswered.