ASUNCION, Paraguay – A man known as "Superpapa" for allegedly taking advantage of a quirk in German laws to adopt hundreds of children worldwide was convicted Tuesday of violating adoption laws in Paraguay.
Jurgen Ernst Hass, 57, was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in jail, said Manuel Aguirre, the judge who led the sentencing and announced the decision.
The court determined that Hass violated laws that those adopting children must be no older than 50 and must show they can provide a loving home where a mother and father are present and be able to educate and raise a child.
Hass told reporters before being led from court that he did not knowingly break the laws.
"I never knew there were very strict regulations for the adoption of children" in Paraguay, Hass said.
Police detained Hass in 2006, saying he appeared to have taken steps to adopt some 30 Paraguayan children with the intent of taking them to Germany to collect a government subsidy for each under Germany's child protection laws.
Hass said he would appeal to be set free immediately for time spent in confinement. Arrested in 2006, he spent several months in jail and was then under house arrest for more than a year.
At the time of his arrest, police said that Hass once claimed he adopted more than 370 children in countries including Russia, Romania, India and Pakistan.
Paraguayan authorities said no children went to Germany from this South American country as a result of adoption attempts.
Hass insisted in 2006 European media and local radio interviews that any adopted children were entitled to German citizenship and a subsidy by the state under German law. He also was quoted as saying such adoptions gave poor children opportunities in Europe that they might not otherwise get.
The judge said no German subsidy money was paid out in Paraguay.