Two people arrested in Germany for blackmailing Michael Schumacher's family

German authorities revealed on Monday that they had detained a father and son on suspicion of trying to extort the family of former Formula One driver Michael Schumacher. The suspects contacted family representatives about files that Schumachers "did not want to see the light of day", prosecutors in the western German city of Wuppertal said in a statement.

"In order to prevent the online publication of these files, the perpetrators demanded a payment in the millions", prosecutors said. The suspects transferred "individual files" to the family to show them they had access to sensitive content, they added.

The seven-time world champion has not appeared in public since suffering a serious brain injury in a skiing accident in the French Alps in 2013.

Investigative authorities in Germany were made aware of the racketeering case by authorities in Switzerland, where Schumacher has been receiving care at the family home since the incident. "Technical measures" allowed the alleged extortionists to be traced to Wuppertal. The two suspects, who were on probation in another case, were arrested by police on June 19 in a supermarket parking lot in Gross-Gerau, south of Frankfurt, prosecutors said.

Authorities searched eight properties as well as the suspects' primary residences, seizing "several data storage devices". "Extensive investigations" are ongoing. If convicted, both men face up to five years behind bars. | BGNES