Frugal, modest, discreet: Aldi-Nord founder Theo Albrecht preached and practiced this all his life. This is how he led his discounter empire and how he raised his sons Theo and Berthold. The Aldi principle applied to business and family at the same time.
The patriarch died ten years ago at the age of 88; Berthold’s death followed only two years later. Theo Albrecht junior turns 70 this week. He is the last Albrecht to fight for his father’s Aldi principle.
It is a bitter battle that has been waged at Aldi Nord for years. Berthold’s widow Babette and their five children are not actively involved in the company, but they pay out millions each year through the Aldi Foundation, called Jakobus. Over time, around 150 million euros landed on the accounts of the Aldi heirs.
A legal dispute has been raging over the distributions for years. Theo Albrecht also wrote several letters to his relatives that they should no longer betray the values of their father and grandfather. There are many emotions in this family feud.
In the past year, the following happened – to put it simply: The Aldi heirs lost the final instance of the legal dispute. Thereupon the responsible foundation supervision asked them not to distribute any more money. Otherwise it would be illegal, it could be an act of infidelity. But last winter the Albrechts reached into the till again. According to information from NewsABC.net, this was the highest payout to date: The Aldi heirs treated themselves to the sum of 50 million euros. Net, of course. The foundation paid taxes in the millions to the tax office.
But unlike the earlier distributions, this time one went empty-handed: Nicolay Albrecht didn’t get anything from the millions. The background is apparently another family dispute – between Nicolay on the one hand and his mother Babette and several sisters on the other.
Nicolay’s revenge followed in August: He filed a criminal complaint against three of his sisters and their lawyer with the Kiel public prosecutor. The accusation is infidelity or aiding and abetting infidelity. The Aldi heirs and their lawyer do not want to comment. The public prosecutor’s office initiated proceedings and will now probably take a closer look at the foundation supervision files. Because the authority that watches over the Jakobus Foundation had already raised suspicion of infidelity last year.
The few who really knew Aldi founder Theo Albrecht are certain: It is good that the man with the Aldi principle no longer had to experience all of this.