Herr Schmitz Tries the Hard Cell

From his Munich prison, Netrepreneur Kim Schmitz swears he's no stock manipulator and vows to party all the way to another fortune

As Kim Schmitz sees it, jail is only a temporary setback to his career as a hard-partying Internet entrepreneur (see BW Online, 4/11/02, "This Ex-Hacker's Fat Is in the Fire"). Schmitz, 28, insists that his spirit is "unbreakable" and that he'll disprove charges that he pocketed $1 million by manipulating the price of online retailer letsbuyit.com's shares. Schmitz's avenues of communication are limited as he sits in a Munich jail awaiting trial. But he agreed to answer written questions submitted by BusinessWeek Frankfurt Bureau Chief Jack Ewing. Schmitz's lawyer, Thomas Pfister, acted as go-between. Here's an edited excerpts of the interview:

Q: How's life behind bars?


Of course, I've seen better times, but I have a built-in take-it-easy mechanism, which activates itself in these situations. I'm innocent and able to prove it. My spirit is unbreakable. I can easily stand this challenge.

Q: What are your plans after your release?


I will have to start from zero again, but that's not a problem. I know the way up, and it won't take much time to return to where I belong. I'm developing new business plans and will start looking for venture capital once this is over. And here's my bet: I will make 100 million euros within five years. If I fail, I will have the German flag tatooed on my forehead.

Q: Do you plan to modify your lifestyle? Will you continue to hold lavish parties?


The secret of my success is my lifestyle. Those parties and events generated more business than any other activities. My parties will get even bigger in the future. I need to maintain my profile as Mr. Decadence.

Q: Has this experience changed you?


Surviving troubles like these makes you stronger. It has taught me to be better prepared in the future and that Germany has no space for heroes.

Q: Do you feel you have done anything wrong?


I have made a lot of mistakes all my life. This is important, because it's the best way to learn. When it comes to my case, I did not do anything wrong. I'm innocent. The truth will win.

Edited by Doug Harbrecht

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