What is it like to be a conman? Meet Manfred Schmider, the self-proclaimed “Sheik of Karlsruhe.” In the 1990s, Schmider’s company FlowTex pulled off one of the biggest white-collar scams in German history, swindling investors out of more than two billion euros. Using his cunning imagination, Schmider’s criminal mind knew no bounds. He conned leasing companies and banks into paying him for machines that existed only on paper and not beyond the realms of his twisted mind. It took years for authorities to pin Schmider of his fraud charges, and today, he graces his presence on the sunny shores of Mallorca, with a past that he can’t afford to forget.
How did Schmider get away with such an elaborate scheme to defraud banks and investors of their money for years? Could it have stopped much earlier had authorities acted when initial reports surfaced? To understand the mind of a conman, ‘The Sheik of Karlsruhe’ is an investigative documentary that takes you through Schmider’s incredible journey from a celebrated entrepreneur to a notorious scammer. The documentary aims to go beyond the headlines and meet the man who, to this day, can’t believe how easy it was for him to blind everyone. With interviews, exclusive footage, and reconstruction techniques, it sets out to answer the question: what motivates someone to commit such high-stakes financial scam and get away with it for years?