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CRIME

For sale: data on 21 million Germans

The details of bank accounts held by 21 million Germans are for sale on the black market for €12 million euros, the news magazine Wirtschaftswoche reported Saturday.

For sale: data on 21 million Germans
Photo: DPA

In an investigative report, two reporters for Wirtschaftswoche met last month with two individuals, arranged through an intermediary, who offered to sell a CD-ROM containing the names, addresses, bank name and account numbers of 21 million people, the magazine said.

“We took away with us the first delivery, a CD with 1.2 million accounts, that we couldn’t imagine,” said the editors in charge of the investigation, which has caused an uproar in Germany.

The economic weekly has given authorities the file, which supposedly would allow someone to commit fraud on a large scale.

“In the worst case, three out of four German households would have to be afraid that some money could be taken from their checking account without their authorisation, and perhaps even without their realising it,” the magazine wrote.

For Peter Schaar, the government official in charge of protecting personal data, the incident reported by the magazine shows the need for tougher legislation.

“It is essential that personal data cannot be transmitted with the individual’s explicit agreement, and that the source of the data is clearly identified in order to assure that one can follow up,” Schaar told on ZDF television.

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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