03 Nov 2014, Cologne, Germany --- Former Arcandor CEO Thomas Middelhoff at the district court in Cologne, Germany, 03 November 2014. The damage claim trial of 'Quelle'-heiress Madeleine Schickedanz continues at the Cologne district court with the hearing of witness Middelhoff. Photo: OLIVER BERG/dpa --- Image by © Oliver Berg/dpa/Corbis
Oliver Berg—© Oliver Berg/dpa/Corbis
November 14, 2014 4:47 PM EST

German businessman Thomas Middelhoff, former CEO of media powerhouse Bertelsmann, was convicted of embezzlement and tax evasion in Germany Friday, according to a Reuters report.

The judge expressed concern that Middelhoff might flee and ordered that police transport the executive to jail immediately to begin a three-year sentence.

Middelhoff, who also ran retailer Arcandor, became a symbol of excessive executive spending in Germany. The media mogul traveled by private jet more than 600 times during his tenure at Arcandor and charged his employer for two-thirds of those flights. He also billed his employer tens of thousands of Euros for private helicopter flights unrelated to business. His sentencing marks a steep fall for a man who was once one of Germany’s most visible business leaders.


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