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CRIME

‘Rockefooler’ identified as Bavarian man

A con man who passed himself off as a member of the US Rockefeller dynasty until he was charged with abducting his daughter has been identified as Christian Gerhartsreiter of Bavaria.

'Rockefooler' identified as Bavarian man
Photo: DPA

Authorities have been struggling to unravel the true identity of the mystery man known as Clark Rockefeller since his arrest last weekend. Rockefeller is being held in a Boston jail for allegedly kidnapping his seven-year-old daughter, Reigh Boss, who normally resides with her mother, Sandra Boss, in London.

Now it’s emerged that Rockefeller, who has taken on several guises including that of a British aristocrat over the past three decades, is actually Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, and hails from a small village in Bavaria.

A reporter for the Boston Herald received a positive identification after showing photos of Rockefeller to Alexander Gerhartsreiter, who said that the con man is his long-lost brother.

Gerhartsreiter said that Christian left the family’s home in Bavaria in 1961 when he was 17 and had not been seen since.

He is believed to have traveled to Connecticut, where he lived with a family as the German exchange student, Christian Gerhart Reiter.

In 1985, he is alleged to have reinvented himself as Christopher Crowe Mountbatten Chichester, son of a British aristocrat. He lived in the guest house of a young married couple in San Marino, California, and is still listed as a suspect in their disappearance and possible murder.

In 1993, he reemerged in New York’s high society as Clark Rockefeller, when he met his future wife, the Harvard graduate Sandra Boss. She gave birth to their daughter, Reigh, in 2001.

Rockefeller, or “Rockefooler” as he was dubbed by the New York Post claims not to remember anything about his life before 1993.

“There is so much stuff coming out from so many sources, I don’t know what to believe,” the con man’s lawyer, Stephen Hrones, told the Boston Globe on Friday.

In another interview with the paper, Rockefeller’s supposed brother, Alexander Gerhartsreiter, speculated on the motive behind the trail of lies.

“I think Germany was too small for him,” Gerhartsreiter said. “He wanted to live in the big country and maybe get famous. Now that I see all this, he’s really famous.”

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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