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CRIME

Ex-NPD treasurer jailed for stealing neo-Nazi party funds

The former treasurer of Germany’s far-right NPD party on Friday was sentenced to two years and eight months in jail for embezzling more than €700,000 ($976,339) in party funds.

Ex-NPD treasurer jailed for stealing neo-Nazi party funds
Kemna in the courtroom on Friday. Photo: DPA

A state court in Münster found Erwin Kemna had redirected the money from NPD accounts into his struggling kitchen studio company starting in early 2004 through the summer of 2007.

“I considered the finances of my firm and those of the party as one and the same,” Kemna said in his confession at the start of the trial.

The 57-year-old attempted to save his company from going under with the money from the NPD’s party coffers. The right-wing extremist, who has been a member of the neo-Nazi party since 1974, has already been in custody for seven months. He was guaranteed a sentence under three years for cooperating with the prosecution.

NPD Secretary General Peter Marx said he hoped the party would now be able to recoup some of the funds. The German government once tried to ban the party as unconstitutional, but failed due to technicalities. The NPD still receives government funding available to all major political parties.

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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