German Weekly Magazine FOCUS on the Principality of Sealand

Focus No. 45, November 6, 2000
p. 111 Property: Microstate gets on the nerves of Telekom

Original document facsimile

(Picture top left)
Taciturn: Ron Sommer is charged with “embezzlement of special assets of the German Reich”. The Telekom boss does not want to comment

(Picture top centre)
Object of dispute: The Telekom refuses to lease the Hakeburg to the “Principality”

(Picture top right)
Rusty Realm: The “Principality” of Sealand near the English coast was a flak platform

(Picture bottom centre)
Hobby Cabinet of Reich Nostalgics
The commissary head of state of the “Government German Reich”, Wolfgang Gerhard Günter Ebel (with flag), surrounded by his advisors

    Quirk  Beware, Fortune-Hunters!

    How the head of state of the flak island Sealand
    wants to force a lease from the Telekom

Ron Sommer, 51, resides in a multi-storey glass and high-grade steel palace near the former Bonn government sector. The chairman of the board of the Telekom guides the destinies of 200'000 staff members and for 1999 balanced a profit of 16 milliards Deutsche Mark for his many stock holders.
Johannes Seiger, 59, resides on the premises of a former chicken farm in the little town of Trebbin in the Mark Brandenburg. He rules over two associates, his yearly budget nears the mark of plus/minus zero. What he owes a lot of is self-confidence. Only this may explain why “David” Seiger challenges “Goliath” Telekom and persistently treats the company with demands for payments in three-figured millions.
Since eleven years the Westphalian Seiger acts as Head of State and Prime Minister for the “Principality of Sealand”. The latter is a former British flak station in the no-man's land of the Atlantic.

By adventurous ex-military men the steel island was proclaimed “Principality of Sealand” in 1967 and tries to establish itself as an international tax haven. With moderate success. Eleven years ago Johannes Seiger had himself appointed Head of State. Two legal counsels have since found that “Sealand has to be regarded as a sovereign state within the meaning of international law”.
All the Principality is lacking so far is a representative mission in Germany. The grey Trebbin barracks are nothing to write home about. So, Seiger cast his glance at a feudal neo-renaissance property at Kleinmachnow in Brandenburg – the Hakeburg. Today, it and 44 hectares of wooded land belong to the Deutsche Telekom. A tenant organises seminars and private parties. Seiger however would like “to have international companies settle on our extraterritorial property due to a simple and better taxation system”. But the Telekom does not want to lease the area to the exotic statesman.
Johannes Seiger expected help from an ominous troupe calling itself “Government of the German Reich”. For years the shadow government sows insecurity in agencies and offices with official-looking documents (Focus 41/2000). Sealand and those of the German Reich, namely Wolfgang Ebel (“Plenipotentiary”) and his assistant Christian Samter a “Friendship and Consultation Treaty”, followed in October 1999 by the lease of the Hakeburg to Sealand for a yearly sum of 50'000 Deutsche Mark.

Since then trouble reigns. Seiger, his state minister Sauerbrey as well as two officials of the German Reich have been ordered to stay away from the Hakeburg, after they had “acted nastily” during two visits, according to the lessees. Policemen had to arbitrate. “At the end they were all on our side”, claim the Sealanders.
Platform president Seiger alleges the interpretation by the Government of the German Reich: In 1937 the Brandenburg family von Hake had sold their property to the Ministry of the Reichspost. Its legal successor are neither the Federal Republic nor Telekom, but the German Reich in form of the self-appointed government. Now Sealand showers Telekom with compensation claims: one million Deutsche Mark per day, because “it makes no move to hand the object over”. The latest bill amounts to 243 Million Deutsche Mark.
The offended Government of the German Reich brings up the big guns. It has its fantasy authorities investigate against Telekom boss Ron Sommer, on grounds of “continued embezzlement of Special Assets of the German Reich”.
Deep silence reigns at Telekom showered by Sealand post. “We will not comment (on the Hakeburg case), and we won't say anything anyway,” we hear from the Bonn central. Silence also from the Telekom branch DT-Immobilien (DT Property).
The silence makes the Sealand Chief happy: That the company accepted his invoices and requests to make overdue payments without contradiction was “an indicator that there was something to the matter”. Rosy times for the miniature Principality? Sometime in 2001, thus Seiger hopes, his team will move into the Hakeburg. In befitting style, of course, on the red carpet.