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Hells Angels biker gang trial begins in Spain

STORY: The trial of 49 alleged members of a criminal gang linked to the Hells Angels began on Monday at a packed session of Spain's high court.

It's taking place almost a decade after police clamped down on the group's activities on the resort island of Mallorca.

The defendants face a slew of criminal charges, including extortion, money laundering, drug trafficking, pandering and unlawful possession of firearms.

Most defendants arrived by foot or cab to the courthouse – with no sign of the distinctive heavyweight cruiser motorbikes the gang is known for.

The prosecution has requested a prison sentence of up to 13 years and a $4.56 million fine for alleged former boss and German national, Frank Hanebuth.

He rose through the Hells Angels ranks in the German city of Hanover before supposedly leading the crime ring in Mallorca.

Hanebuth appeared in court with a closely shaved scalp, a goatee and a jacket covering tribal tattoos on his forearms.

The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club was formed in the U.S. in 1948.

It has some 5,000 members at about 350 branches – dubbed "chapters" – around the world.

Spanish authorities say the Mallorca chapter was founded in 2009 – and was mostly made up of German and Turkish members.

A special prosecutor said the gang was lured to Mallorca for multiple reasons, including the existence of brothels and opportunities to launder money and traffic drugs.

The trial is scheduled to last two weeks, but could be extended before a verdict is reached.