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CRIME

Ex-Siemens director convicted in corruption scandal

In the first trial over the massive Siemens corruption scandal that came to light in November 2006, a Munich district court on Monday handed a former manager a two-year suspended sentence and hefty fines for his part in paying €53 million in bribes to land foreign contracts.

Ex-Siemens director convicted in corruption scandal
Photo: DPA

The 57-year-old defendant, former telecommunications unit director Reinhard Siekaczek, admitted to developing and administering a slush fund between 2001 and 2004. He was convicted of 49 counts of breach of trust and will pay a fine of €108,000.

“The money is gone,” said head judge Peter Noll in the court decision. “The charges have been completely confirmed,” he said, adding that the money disappeared into an “impervious company network” like a sponge.

Siekaczek’s trial is the first in an investigation that includes some 300 people over kickbacks for foreign contracts that reached into the upper ranks of the company, including the former chairman and former head of the supervisory board.

Siemens, one of Europe’s largest engineering conglomerates, estimates that up to €1.3 billion of the company’s money ended up in slush funds between 2000 and 2006.

dpa/ddp/afp

CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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