Former footballer jailed after faking own death in £1million insurance scam
Hiannick Kamba came through the ranks at Schalke and spent his playing career in Germany, mostly in the lower leagues, and was a colleague of Manuel Neuer
An ex-footballer who once played alongside Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has been sentenced to prison for his involvement in an insurance scam involving him faking his own death, according to reports in Germany.
Former Schalke defender Hiannick Kamba came through the club's ranks with Neuer, playing a number of games at youth level, before spending the remainder of his career at a number of lower-league clubs and hanging up his boots in 2016.
However, after retiring, the 35-year-old was found to have faked his death.
And a German court has now sentenced Kamba and his wife to three years and 10 months in prison for their part in a case which the German media describe as having a number of unanswered questions.
According to Bild, Kamba faked his death in 2016, only to return to Germany alive and well three years later.
His wife was paid €1.2m (just over £1m) by the company with whom the couple had a life insurance policy, while one of his former clubs - VfB Huls, who play in North Rhine-Westphalia - even published an obituary after the player's apparent death in a car crash.
However, an investigation was opened when the Congolese player was seen back in Germany.
Upon returning to Germany, Kamba explained his absence by claiming to have been kidnapped and taken to a remote Congolese village before eventually finding his way back to a German embassy, but prosecutor Hauke Schlick disputed the story.
“The defendant is an intelligent person who wanted to make his master," Schlick said, calling initially for four-and-a-half year sentences for Kamba and his wife.
"He would have found other courses of action to get in touch earlier"
Lars Dippel, defending the ex-footballer, argued that “The charge is based on presumptions.".
"My client has never seen money, it has nothing to do with it," he said, per Bild.
Michael Konrad-Wolff, the lawyer for Kamba's wife Christina, argued his client "was as surprised by the news of [the] death as anyone else".
"Her main concern was initially how she could have the body transferred to Germany," Konrad-Wolff said.
A number of Kamba's one-time Schalke teammates made it into the first team, including Germany goalkeeper Neuer and former Fulham midfielder Tim Hoogland.
Kamba, however, dropped down the leagues and eventually played further down the pyramid in regional competitions.
"His demise will leave a big gap," VfB Huls' obituary read, per The Star.
"Hiannick is undoubtedly a bitter sporting loss for us, but primarily we will miss him as a fellow human being."