Bornheim Sabine Ritter, wife of the former asparagus farmer Claus Ritter, is in custody as co-owner of the insolvent Bornheim company. Her husband has been in the Cologne prison since August.
Sabine Ritter, wife of the former Bornheim asparagus farmer Claus Ritter and co-owner of the joint farm, has been in custody since Monday lunchtime: on the basis of an arrest warrant issued by the Bonn insolvency court on 28 October, she was arrested by the bailiff in charge, as confirmed on Monday evening by Birgit Niepmann, director of the local court. Like her husband, she is in the Cologne prison. The couple is in so-called forced detention because they refused to provide the insolvency administrator with information during the proceedings. The aim of the detention is to persuade them to comply with their obligation to cooperate.
Claus Ritter has already been in custody since August: After the couple had apparently appeared completely unprepared and without any documents at a hearing with the responsible judicial officer and insolvency administrator Andreas Schulte-Beckhausen in the summer, the well-known Bornheimer Bauer was taken to a detention cell by judicial officers immediately after the hearing and then taken to the Ossendorf prison by court order.
Insolvency proceedings have been in progress against the business of the former model farmer from the foothills since the beginning of March. Until then, Ritter had been growing asparagus on around 40 hectares and strawberries on a further 85 hectares. Even though most of the cultivated area was leased, the company was probably one of the largest producers in the region.
In addition to the almost 30 permanent employees, Ritter is said to have employed up to 500, mostly Southeast European harvest workers, during the peak season. After the arrest of her husband, Sabine Ritter had initially signalled her willingness to cooperate. Now the insolvency court apparently found this to be insufficient.
Original text: Leif Kubik
Translation: Mareike Graepel