Clemens Toennies, known to Germans as a brash billionaire, is turning into a public villain after one of his meat-processing plants triggered the country’s biggest single coronavirus outbreak, writes Bloomberg.
Prosecutors and politicians are scrutinizing his business model after more than 1,500 people — mainly poorly-paid contract workers from eastern Europe who live in cramped housing — tested positive, prompting authorities to close the plant. It’s the latest challenge for Toennies, 64, who has previously weathered antitrust scrutiny and criticism for racist comments.
After failing for years to improve conditions for animals and workers, the man who also leads a German soccer club and has rubbed shoulders with Vladimir Putin is now facing a backlash for triggering a lockdown for 640,000 people, just as Europe’s biggest economy restarts. Even in a country that loves bratwurst and schnitzel, some say his comeuppance was bound to happen.