With blackmail , someone tries to unlawfully enrich himself or a third party through violence or by threatening a sensitive evil at the expense of another. In this respect, blackmail is to be distinguished from coercion , which does not presuppose any intention to enrich or damage property. The act is considered unlawful if the purpose-means relationship between the act of coercion, i.e. the violence or threat and the intended purpose of coercion, is to be viewed as reprehensible.
Legal situation in Germany
The extortion from a legal perspective according toStGB presupposes, in addition to the coercion, a financial disadvantage caused by it for the coerced or a third party. Those who are forced to do so require real freedom of choice as to whether they accept the perpetrator's act or cause the property damage by means of (self) harm.
When it comes to illegality , a distinction must be made between:
- On the one hand, according to (2) of the Criminal Code, the act of coercion for the intended purpose (enrichment) must be reprehensible and thus illegal (as in (2) of the Criminal Code). Without this criterion z. B. the enforcement of loan claims of the obligee against a debtor with the threat of judicial enforcement is punishable.
- On the other hand, the desired enrichment must itself be illegal. Enrichment is illegal if it is objectively in conflict with the property regime. The enforcement of a claim that is due and free of objection with coercive means is not unlawful within the meaning of the provision. The distinction between piece and class guilt is irrelevant. Here it is also important how a monetary debt is legally classified.
In certain cases it is very doubtful whether the disposition of property sought (or achieved) with the threat of publication of dishonorable but not prohibited information constitutes a factual blackmail, if the information concerning the commercial sphere is true and a question affecting the public affect. See specifically the so-called chantage (threat of revelations for the purpose of blackmail).
The victim of blackmail can be privileged under procedural law if he is blackmailed with the threat of reporting a crime . The public prosecutor's office can, if the seriousness of the act does not conflict with it, refrain from prosecution according to StPO .
The armed robbery ( of the Criminal Code) is the qualified by means of coercion (violence against a person or threat of danger to life and limb) made extortion. It represents a qualification for blackmail.
Wording of § 253 StGB
Emotional blackmail takes place when a blackmailer threatens a blackmailer with credible feelings of guilt (example: "If you do that, I'll jump off the bridge!"). The psychological psychotherapist Doris Wolf describes techniques and strategies of emotional blackmail and describes feelings of guilt as superfluous and harmful.
- Sycophant - people were called in ancient Athens who made a business out of threatening other (mostly wealthy) citizens with blackmailing slander
- Karl Hagel: Robbery and extortion under German and English law and from a comparative law perspective . De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1979, ISBN 3-11-008103-2
- Car Hartmann: The doctrine of blackmail . Master's thesis, Dorpat 1859, hdl: 10062/473
- Ernst Sommer : extortionate because of aberration . Vienna 1949
- Otto Schwarz (start), Thomas Fischer (Hrsg.): Criminal code and subsidiary laws. 59th edition. Beck Verlag, Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-406-60892-6 .
- Philipp Fölsing: settlement negotiations or participation in blackmail?
- Wolfgang Mitsch: blackmail or predatory fraud .
- Fischer: Criminal Code and subsidiary laws. 2012, p. 1738.
- Emotional Blackmail - Manipulation through feelings of guilt . Partnership- relationship.de. Retrieved June 6, 2010.
- Doris Wolf: Overcoming self-reproaches and feelings of guilt . Paperback Pal Verlag, 2003.