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FINANCE

Police search KfW over transfer scandal

Police searched the offices of the KfW state development bank in Frankfurt on Wednesday while investigating alleged crimes connected with money transferred to Lehman Brothers after it had gone bust.

Police search KfW over transfer scandal
Photo:DPA

Officers from the Federal Criminal Police (BKA) and the public prosecutor were sent to the offices looking for documents relating to the transfer, which made KfW a laughing stock when it sent the money on September 15 as part of a liquidity exchange operation agreed to before the US investment bank went under.

The state prosecutor says it wants to establish whether those in charge of the corporation had “abandoned their asset management responsibilities to a criminal degree,” daily Handelsblatt reported on Wednesday.

“The fraud allegation we are investigating has nothing to do with anyone enriching themselves personally, it relates to the main suspicion of them knowing about the liquidity problems of the bank but nonetheless transferring the money,” a prosecutor spokeswoman told The Local on Wednesday. “If you know that something is not right, but you do it anyway, that can be included in fraud.”

She said the investigators, two from the prosecutor’s office and two BKA officers, went into the offices at around 9:30 am, and were still there at 1:30 pm.

Arrests were not immediately expected, she confirmed, but added, “The suspects have already been informed, and will be questioned once we have analyzed the material seized. It concerns the six then members of the board, and the head of the risk management and risk controlling department. All are men.”

A spokesman for the KfW told the Handelsblatt newspaper, “The KfW will provide all requested information and documents to the state prosecutor for the investigation.”

KfW is now only likely to get just half of the money back via insolvency proceedings at Lehman.

Three bank officials called “Germany’s dumbest bankers” have since been suspended for the expensive cock-up.

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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