A German lawyer went on trial on Friday for allegedly fabricating a victim of a right-wing terrorist attack in order to cash in on more than €211,000 ($250,000) in public funds.
The 52-year-old lawyer had represented a man named Meral Keskin, a supposed victim of a 2004 nail-bomb attack in Cologne.
The attack, carried out by the National Socialist Underground (NSU), injured 22 people, four of whom were seriously wounded. However, the victim in question did not actually exist, the public prosecutor told the court.
Read more: How Germany remembers the NSU nail-bomb attack
The lawyer, who has not been named due to privacy laws, is being tried for fraud, attempted fraud, forgery of documents and lying under oath.
He denied the accusations and declined to make an opening statement to the court in the city of Aachen.
The racist attacks and murders carried out by the NSU between 2000 and 2006 were tried at the Munich Higher Regional Court for over five years.
According to the indictment, the lawyer managed to convince the Munich court of Keskin’s existence by presenting false medical and psychological certificates and referring to alleged television images of the man, the German Redaktionsnetzwerk reported.
Read more: Racist motives suspected behind defacement of NSU victims memorial
Because the trial lasted for so long, the lawyer took part in numerous negotiations and, according to the prosecution, was reimbursed for travel expenses and handed advances on meeting fees. However, the alleged fraud was revealed when the court summoned Meral Keskin to appear in-person.
Of the €211,000 in fees, he is only said to have repaid around €1,500 to the state treasury.
In addition to the charges related to the NSU attack, the lawyer is also being charged in connection with the2010 Loveparade disaster in Duisburg, which saw 21 people died by suffocation and hundreds more injured.
The lawyer has been accused of unsuccessfully trying to represent an alleged victim of the incident. The victim in question existed, but no medical records existed pointing to injuries related to the event.
Read more: German court halts Love Parade trial with no convictions
If convicted, he could face a fine or prison sentence of up to five years, according to a court spokesperson. The trial will also determine whether the defendant will be able to continue working as a lawyer.