Hells Angels organized crime trial begins in Spain ABC

Hells Angels organized crime trial begins in Spain

MADRID — Prosecutors on Monday sought a 13-year prison sentence for a former Hells Angels leader in Europe accused of running a chapter of the motorcycle club linked to organized crime on the Spanish island of Mallorca.

German citizen Frank Hanebuth appeared in court along with 49 suspected collaborators from numerous countries, at least 34 of whom agreed to a plea deal that allowed them to pay fines instead of serving time. Hanebuth did not seek a deal.

Some of the defendants were of German, Greek or British origin and required an interpreter to follow the proceedings, which were conducted in Spanish. Three of the accused participated via video call from Germany.

The Spanish public prosecutor accuses Hanebuth of membership in a criminal organization, money laundering and illegal possession of weapons. They are also asking the judge overseeing the trial to fine them $4.5 million for money laundering.

In addition to belonging to a criminal organization, other defendants were charged with running a prostitution ring and drug trafficking, and face up to 38 years in prison.

According to the indictment, the Hells Angels carried out illegal activities in Mallorca from 2009 to 2013 under the leadership of Hanebuth. Hanebuth appointed members who then committed crimes including racketeering, pimping, acquiring illegal firearms and robbing popular tourist spots, prosecutors said.

They also moved into properties in Mallorca and the nearby island of Ibiza, prosecutors said. The defendants were not limited to driving Harley-Davidsons: one of Hanebuth’s co-defendants was subpoenaed for driving a Bentley at 125 mph (200 km/h) in a 75 mph (120 km/h) speed zone.

The Hells Angels in Europe are believed to have chosen Mallorca for their illegal activities because of the high presence of foreign residents and the existence of other money laundering and drug trafficking schemes on the island, prosecutors say in the indictment.

The gang’s Mallorca chapter was heavily international, according to the indictment, with recruits from the Dominican Republic and Morocco.

One of the defendants who entered into a plea deal was Paul Witworth, a British associate of Hanebuth who prosecutors said had ties to the Adams family, a notorious British gang also known as The Clerkenwell Crime Syndicate.

Hanebuth was also keeping up with its German base in Hanover, prosecutors said.

The process is expected to take several weeks.


A previous version of this story has been corrected to show that Hanebuth is no longer a leader of the Hells Angels.