Supermarket cofounder Aldi Theo Albrecht̵
The German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported Thursday that Nicolay Albrecht, grandson of co-founder Theo Albrecht, is accusing his mother and sisters of misappropriating funds and withdrawing millions from a family fund that holds the family fortune. The Guardian and the London Times also reported the news.
The criminal complaint was reportedly filed in August by Nicolay, who denounces a breach of trust of one of the family’s notoriously complex trusts that hold the inherited shares of Theo’s Aldi Nord group. Nicolay’s mother, Babette, is Berthold Albrecht’s widow. Berthold’s father, Theo Albrecht, died in 2010, leaving an estimated $ 16.7 billion fortune to his sons Theo Jr. and Berthold, who died in 2012. The fortune, under the guidance of Theo Albrecht Jr, from then it rose to 21.2 billion dollars, Forbes estimates.
Of Babette’s five children, one son and three daughters were born four twins and are now 30, while a youngest daughter is 28, according to media reports. The son, Nicolay, says his mother and sisters used their superior numbers in the boardroom to cash in millions from the family fund.
The conflict, which has spanned many chapters, pits the cost-conscious elders who built Aldi against the younger generation who inherited the wealth.
In May 2016, an interview with the German magazine Stern shocked the country as Theo Albrecht Jr. accused Babette, his brother’s wife and his children, of helping themselves “with possessions,” the Times reported, in the original interview. not made available online.
“I am very sad that Babette and her children do not want to accept her husband’s will and charter and are fighting it,” she said. Stern said $ 88 million (€ 75 million) was withdrawn from the foundation in 2013, 2014 and 2015, the Times reported.
A lawyer from the Albrecht family did not respond to the comment. In 2019, the family denied any wrongdoing in a statement to the Guardian.
The controversy over family trusts and various attempts to give up the tightly tied purse strings around them escalated in 2018 when family matriarch Cäcilie Albrecht, wife of Theo Sr., died. In her will, years of animosity came to ‘boil with Cäcilie accusing the heirs (when details of his last will and will were made public in an Essen court in February 2019) of living lavish lifestyles rather than living in line with Aldi and Albrecht. notoriously frugal ways. Cäcilie has reportedly barred Berthold’s offspring and daughter-in-law Babette from filling any future roles in the study.
In his will, reported by the Guardian in April 2019, he famously wrote: “With this document I undertake to guarantee the safeguarding of our family’s philosophy, which is to serve the Aldi Nord consortium and promote it, at the same time as putting part personal interests and practice a modest and abstemious lifestyle “.
When the will was read, Babette and her family denied any charges. In 2019 Andreas Urban, the attorney representing Babette and her children, told the Guardian: “Mercy and decency dictate that this will should not be publicly evaluated.” Adding that “Berthold Albrecht’s heirs have always been concerned … for Aldi Nord’s welfare.”
Forbes turned to Aldi Nord in Germany for comment.
Aldi Family Fortune
Aldi is known today as a popular budget supermarket with over 10,000 stores in 20 countries. In the US Trader Joe’s has a reputation for low prices. The family behind Aldi and Trader Joe’s, the Albrechts, are well known as one of the richest families in Europe.
Aldi stores boasted global sales of over $ 30 billion in 2018 in Germany, while the UK has emerged as another huge market for Aldi with $ 12 billion in sales.
The family fortune was built by Theo and elder brother Karl after their release from a prisoner of war camp having been drafted to fight under General Erwin Rommel in North Africa before being captured by Italian troops in 1945, according to the obituary. by Theo in the Guardian in 2010.
While the father worked in a coal mine, the mother ran a small grocery store where the brothers would work after school in the pre-war years.
After the war, the brothers returned to their home in Essen, West Germany, and found their small shop intact. And thus began the rise and rise of the Albrecht dynasty, where food in Aldi stores was sold straight out of the box, stacked unmarketedly and at low prices, compared to rival stores selling fresh produce. The term Aldi is an abbreviation of the family name “Albrecht” and “Discount” and the ethos still survives in its stores today.
In June 2019, Aldi opened two stores in China, and the Financial Times reported from Shanghai that hundreds of people lined up to enter. Zhou Youhua, a retired doctor, told the FT that, like many Aldi shoppers around the world, “We came here for German products and cheap beer.”