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Belgian jailed for acid attack on German energy CFO

A German court on Thursday sentenced a Belgian man to 12 years in jail over an acid attack on an energy company manager four years ago.

The 42-year-old was found guilty of throwing sulphuric acid into the face of Bernhard Guenther, then 51 and chief financial officer with Essen-based company Innogy, the court in Wuppertal said.

The suspect and another perpetrator had been hired to carry out the attack, the court said in a statement. It did not name the Belgian man.

Presiding judge Holger Jung reportedly described the crime as “hardly to be surpassed in brutality and contempt for mankind”.

Guenther was returning home alone from a run in Haan near Duesseldorf in March 2018 when the acid was thrown in his face, resulting in deep burns to his head and neck as well as his arms and legs.

The two perpetrators fled the scene.

Investigations into the crime had repeatedly stalled and were at one point suspended, but the case was reopened on the basis of anonymous tip-offs.

The Belgian suspect was arrested in December and later extradited to Germany after his DNA was found to match traces found at the scene.

In October 2019, a different suspect was arrested in Cologne. However, the accusations against him could not be proven and the case against him was dropped.

Innogy was a subsidiary of German energy giant RWE at the time of the attack but has since been integrated into rival EON.