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CRIME

EADS finance director questioned in insider trading probe

The financial director of European aerospace giant EADS, Hans-Peter Ring, has been questioned as a witness in connection with a French probe into alleged insider trading in the group's shares, a German press report said Monday.

Ring told the Financial Times Deutschland he was not a suspect in an affair that has focused on more than a dozen current and former executives of the European Aeronautic Defence Space Company.

They are suspected of having sold EADS stock before problems emerged with the Airbus A380 super jumbo jet in June 2006. Reports of delivery delays caused shares in EADS, the Airbus parent, to plunge on the stock market.

Ring was questioned two or three weeks ago, the newspaper said.

On Sunday, Airbus boss Thomas Enders, who could also face questioning in connection with the probe, blasted it as a “show trial” in comments at a seminar in Farnborough, England before the start of an international airshow.

Stefan Zoller, head of the defence and security branch of EADS, said for his part that the whole investigation was “difficult to understand.”

A total of 17 current and former EADS directors, of whom 11 still work for the company, have been identified for questioning by the French stock market watchdog, the Autorite des Marches Financiers.

They include nine French nationals, four Germans, two Americans, one Finn and one British national.

GERMANY AND ISRAEL

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.

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