“He said I was his property”

FFor the twelfth day of his testimony against the Berlin clan boss Arafat Abou-Chaker and his brothers, the rapper Bushido had chosen his outfit to match the content of his testimony. “Leave me alone” was emblazoned in large white letters on the back of his black jacket. Unfortunately, only journalists and listeners were able to read the message, as the Abou Chaker brothers, as is customary in the courtroom, sat diagonally in front of the witness. The four brothers are on trial for, among other things, serious blackmail, deprivation of liberty, dangerous bodily harm, coercion, insult and infidelity. Bushido is a joint plaintiff and a witness in the trial.

In order for the Abou-Chakers to leave him and his family alone, he offered Arafat in March 2018 to pay him 1.8 million euros over three years, reports Anis Ferchichi, the real name of Bushido, in the Berlin district court on Wednesday. Officially, it was about a severance payment so that he could be left out of the contract, says the musician. But in reality he only made the offer “for protective purposes”. He never really thought that Abou-Chaker, his long-term business partner, had a legal claim to the money. Arafat is an “egomaniac” who wrongly believes he made Bushido great, according to Ferchichi.

“He said I was his property”

Of course, Abou-Chaker seems to have considered the 1.8 million euros to be too little. If one believes Ferchichi’s statements, the clan boss had previously instructed him at a meeting in January 2018 after violent arguments about the business separation to go home “like a dog” and wait for his instructions. He threatened Ferchichi that either he would accept the price he told him or that he would continue to pay until the end of his life. “He said I was his property, I belong to him,” remembers Ferchichi in the courtroom. In the more than four-hour meeting, Abou-Chaker insulted and threatened him with the door locked. They wanted to “break through psychologically in the middle”.

The rapper is particularly resentful of his ex-business partner when he threatened “I’ll fuck your dead mother, your father, your wife and your children.” Abou-Chaker calmly listed all his family members, reports Ferchichi. It was then that he realized that he would cause harm to himself and his family if he refused to pay the requested sum. “With us in the rap area, it is actually enough to insult your mother to express that you have a problem with someone,” the rapper explained to the inexperienced. Abou-Chaker’s statement was “defamatory” and brought tears to his eyes. As the rapper has described in detail in previous hearings, Abou-Chaker allegedly attacked him with a water bottle and a chair at the same meeting. Ferchichi described the situation as he “burst” with anger. The defense doubts the credibility of this account, especially since there are no further testimony to the meeting.

Apparently, Abou-Chaker was not only enraged by the question of money, but also by the alleged betrayal by Ferchichi and other former confidants. The meeting was about reputation, said the rapper. “The street is talking, you hear a lot,” said Nasser Abou-Chaker, one of the other brothers in the dock at the trial, to him. Arafat Abou-Chaker wanted to know exactly who was on Ferchichi’s side. The conversation was mostly about Veycel Kilic, a childhood friend of Abou-Chaker, and Ashraf Remmo, whom Ferchichi’s wife had asked for protection from the Abou-Chaker clan. He has now no longer had contact with either of them, the rapper said. He’s been leading a different life for two years, and the two of them didn’t fit. Kilic was admitted to hospital seriously injured after a shooting in late December. Among other things, he had been on the road with another Abou-Chaker brother, Ali Abou-Chaker.

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