British military suspends civilians in corruption probe

Twenty-one civilians have been suspended following raids at several British military facilities in Germany this week. They are suspected of accepting bribes to give lucrative maintenance contracts to local companies.

British military suspends civilians in corruption probe
Photo: DPA

“They are civilians working for the British armed forces and they have been suspended from their duties pending the investigation,” British military spokeswoman Helga Heine told The Local on Thursday.

She said the raids were conducted by German police at military locations and private residences.

“The police confiscated lots of hardware and files,” Heine said.

The civilian employees are thought to have taken money in return for making sure eight firms secured contracts to renovate army buildings and supply them.

Prosecutors in Wuppertal said that around 200 police officers and 50 officials searched British army premises at Mönchengladbach, Elmpt, Paderborn and Herford on Tuesday.

The authorities also suspect payments were made to non-existent shell companies for fake contracts in scams “costing the British government millions of euros.”

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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.