Looking into the eyes of the man who destroyed his face - that's not the only reason Bernhard Günther came to the Wuppertal Regional Court for the start of the trial on Friday morning, although he didn't have to as a joint plaintiff.
"I hope that we can take a giant step forward today, that in the end the entire case will be clarified, right down to the client," says Günther in the hallway of the court.
Political correspondent in North Rhine-Westphalia.
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On March 4, 2018, Günther, then CFO of the energy company Innogy, had just stopped by the bakery on his way back from jogging in Haan near Düsseldorf to buy bread rolls for the Sunday family breakfast when, on the very last stretch of his lap, he was a good 200 meters ahead of his Two men attacked Villa and poured highly concentrated sulfuric acid over his head.
The manager came to a special clinic with severe chemical burns and was at times in mortal danger.
The only reason he didn't lose his eyesight was that he was wearing contact lenses that fateful morning.
Günther had to endure countless operations.
Unlike previous public appearances, this time he is wearing neither a headband nor sunglasses.
When asked by a reporter whether he was doing better now because he looked good, Günther replied with a friendly smile: "What you see now is due to the art of make-up." The deep scars on his face remained forever.
“The eyelids will always be affected.
I feel that every morning when I wake up, that the world is no longer the way it was before the attack;
the body feels alien.”
Was another manager the client?
A brutal acid attack in broad daylight on an unsuspecting man - who does it, or who orders it?
Günther expressed the suspicion early on that the attack could have something to do with his professional position and that he was being considered for even higher posts.
Günther said in several interviews that the client was another manager from the energy industry who wanted to get rid of him, and he even gave the public prosecutor a name.
It would be an outrageous case, unique in recent German economic history: a manager tries to make another manager unfit for a board position with an acid attack.
Insiders had of course known for a long time at the beginning of 2018, which then became public shortly after the attack on Günther: The RWE subsidiary Innogy was broken up, parts of it were taken over by the competitor Eon, and various positions had to be filled.
A strange parallel seemed to support Günther's thesis.
The manager had already been waylaid by two men while jogging in June 2012.
At that time, too, important personnel decisions were pending in his company.
But after the acid attack, the police and public prosecutor's office could not substantiate Günther's competitor's thesis.
There were also no tangible indications in other directions.
The investigation was temporarily suspended at the end of 2018.
But Günther didn't give up.
At his own expense, the manager put private investigators on his case and started calling witnesses together with Innogy.
After the first astonishingly detailed information from an unknown person, the case seemed about to be clarified in 2019.
The police arrested a wrestler at a sports tournament in Cologne.
However, he soon had to be released again because the judge did not have enough evidence.
While the key piece of evidence -- the glove left at the scene by one of the perpetrators -- contained plenty of DNA, it did not belong to the wrestler.Keywords: