GERMAN car hire magnate Hasso Schutzendorf has died at the age of 79. The funeral will take place tomorrow, Thursday, at 7pm at the church of Sant Bartomeu in Valldemossa. Hasso was a pioneer in the car hire trade in Majorca, where he had lived for almost 48 years. Hasso, who was married at least six times, served as a soldier in World War II. He came to Spain shortly after the war and denied that he smuggled tobacco “because the packs were large and heavy and you did not earn very much,” he once said in an interview. Instead, he explained, he brought what people needed. Barcelona, for example, had a big textile industry, so he brought needles, “millions of them, from Sweden.” He also dealt in spare parts and cars. He established his headquarters in Castelldefels but later moved to Majorca, where he opened a car hire firm, which was relatively easy in those days when there were few controls. In 1957, he had five Mercedes, two Chevrolets and five Biscuters, as well as a sailing school and a water ski school. At the time of his death, he owned the biggest chain of hire cars in Majorca and one of the biggest in Spain, with a fleet of several thousand cars. He was well known for his eccentricities, which included owning wild animals. In June 2001, he was attacked at his home in Valldemossa by two men, who, after tying him up, got away with more than 180'000 euros. He had been suffering from emphysema for some time and in recent years would spend long seasons in Andorra.

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