Girmay Gebremichael, the major shareholder and managing director of Askallukan Trading P.L.C. who was suspected of defrauding 45 million birr from over 1,200 people in connection with the 2010 FIFA World Cup, was arrested in Frankfurt, Germany, on Monday, it was learnt.
Girmay, whose company run a promotional campaign announcing that it had 10,000 guaranteed visas for a trip to South Africa for the World Cup games, was believed to have fled the country back in May when his whole plan collapsed with many who bought the package from the company failing to travel to South Africa.
Girmay, who was seeking asylum in Germany citing political reasons, was arrested by German police on November 29.
Over 100 people who claimed to have been defrauded by Girmay gathered at the Embassy of Germany in Ethiopia on Thursday afternoon as rumors of his capture surfaced. The crowd, which was met by Michael Biontino, vice counselor at the Embassy of Germany in Ethiopia, requested the extradition of the individual.
The counselor informed the crowd that the Ethiopian government had already formally requested the extradition of the individual and that it was being reviewed by the German government. The counselor promised the crowd that they will be updated on any developments on the issue.
Menna Terefe, wife of Girmay and general manger of the company, and Girma Bekele, the company’s accountant, Dereje Bayu, employee of the company in the Finance and Administration Department and Birhanu Lenchamo, an agent of the company, were found guilty by the Federal High Court, second BPR criminal bench, for fraudulent misrepresentation and undertaking an activity without a business license. Their sentencing is due on December 10.
Girmay, who was already out of the country at the time the charge was instituted at the high court, was not charged by the federal prosecutors.