The day after the rescue, the resignation took place. Werner Gegenbauer resigned from his position as president of the capital club at the end of May following Hertha BSC’s successful relegation second leg match at Hamburger SV (2-0). As the “Financial Times” reports, majority owner Lars Windhorst could have had a large share in this.
Accordingly, the German financier is said to have commissioned a private Israeli secret service company to organize a campaign against Gegenbauer. “The conspiracy against Werner Gegenbauer is detailed in Israeli court documents filed this month, revealing that Tel Aviv-based Shibumi Strategy Limited conducted a year-long covert operation to force him out of the club where Windhorst was the is the majority owner,” the paper said.
As the Financial Times further reports, the company, code-named Euro 2020, contacted fans of the club, opponents and Gegenbauer’s family members for potentially disrespectful information as part of the campaign. Shibumi also set up online profiles of alleged Hertha supporters who criticized the boss at the time. A website called “Gegenbauer raus”, which promoted the 72-year-old’s dismissal and was advertised on various social media channels, is said to have been initiated by the Israeli company.
Even a cartoonist is said to have been paid to post unfavorable images of Gegenbauer online and present him as the club’s destroyer. “Shibumi set up a blog called ‘Sportfreax’, which published negative articles to ‘sway Hertha members about Hertha’s internal chaos’ and ‘identify journalists who could be covertly approached’ to promote the campaign,” writes the “FT”.
All this came about through the lawsuit filed before an Israeli court: The company is suing the ex-prodigy of the German economy because Windhorst’s company Tennor “broke a contract according to which they paid Shibumi one million euros for eight months of work and an alleged oral owe an agreed bonus of four million euros,” writes the journal. After his EUR 374 million investment, Windhorst also holds 66.6 percent of Hertha BSC GmbH through Tennor
The “FT” confronted those involved with the case. Ori Gur-Ari, executive director of Shibumi Strategy, said: “We do not know anything about this alleged case. You must have made a mistake.” Gegenbauer could not be reached. Windhorst called it “nonsense” and questioned the reliability of the documents submitted. He said he hadn’t spoken to Gur-Ari “for a long time.”
Andreas Fritzenkötter, spokesman for Windhorst’s company Tennor, told “Bild”: “That’s complete nonsense.” He commented on the alleged claims of the Israeli agency as follows: “We are not aware of anything in the company.”