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Spanish chefs called as witnesses in ETA trial

10 November 2004
Spanish chefs called as witnesses in ETA trial

Four Basque chefs with eight Michelin stars between them have been dragged into the trial of an alleged member of the ETA terrorist group.

Juan Maria Arzak and Pedro Subijara both appeared before a high court judge on Monday to answer allegations that they had complied with demands to pay €70,000 (nearly £50,000) in protection money - known as the "revolutionary tax".

The two chefs run the three- and two-Michelin-starred Arzak and Akelarre restaurants in San Sebastian in north-west Spain.

Two other high-profile chefs from the same town - Martin Berasategui, who runs an eponymous restaurant with three Michelin stars, and Karlos Arguinano of the Husa Karlos Arguinano hotel and restaurant - are also due to appear as witnesses. They are alleged to have been approached for the "tax".

Paying extortion money is a crime under Spanish law that can attract jail sentences of up to eight years.

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