The trial of a former leader of the Hells Angels in Europe is set to start on Monday in Madrid.
German national Frank Hanebuth is being tried alongside 49 alleged international collaborators for running a chapter of the motorcycle club on the Spanish resort island of Mallorca that was allegedly involved in organized crime.
He was seen arriving at court an hour before the scheduled start time for the trial. A total of 46 defendants were present in the courtroom, while three others were expected to give evidence by videoconference.
The beginning of the session was delayed as some of the lawyers tried to arrange plea agreements for their defendants. It wasn’t immediately clear if Hanebuth’s lawyer was one of them.
Spanish prosecutors are seeking a 13-year prison sentence for Hanebuth on charges of membership in a criminal organization, money laundering and illegal possession of firearms. They also are demanding a $4.5 million fine for the money laundering charge.
Other alleged leading members are also charged with running a prostitution ring and drug trafficking, and face up to 38 years in prison.
According to the prosecutor’s indictment, the Hells Angels conducted illegal activities in Mallorca from 2009 to 2013 under Hanebuth’s leadership. He allegedly appointed members who then carried out crimes including extortion, pimping, acquiring illegal firearms and robbery in popular tourist spots.
They also moved into real estate on Mallorca and nearby island Ibiza. The accused didn’t limit themselves to riding Harley-Davidsons. One of Hanebuth’s fellow defendants has been cited as driving a Bentley at 125 mph in a 75-mph speed zone before being pulled over by police.
The trial is expected to last several weeks.