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Organised crime suspicions spread to Düsseldorf U-Bahn

As details continue to emerge about suspected organised crime connections that led to shoddy metro construction practices and the deadly collapse of Cologne’s city archive, building experts have discovered similar problems in nearby Düsseldorf.

Organised crime suspicions spread to Düsseldorf U-Bahn
Photo: DPA

City building department head Gregor Bonin told journalists late on Tuesday experts had found falsified protocols and metal anchors that had not been installed properly at six different underground metro construction sites on the U-Bahn Wehrhahn line.

“There is criminal energy at play here,” Bonin said, adding that the city has filed charges against two people in the case.

After the March 2009 collapse of Cologne’s city archive, which killed two people and destroyed countless precious documents, officials there launched an investigation into metro construction practices that may have led to the accident. They have since uncovered systematic falsification of building protocols and evidence that construction companies were skimping on concrete and other materials.

Bonin said there were clear indications that similar incidents in Düsseldorf were perpetrated by the same people as in Cologne – employees of a company called Bilfinger Berger – and those under suspicion have been suspended from their duties.

Because no safety danger has been detected in relation to these practices, construction of the U-Bahn line will continue as planned, he said.

Meanwhile Düsseldorf Mayor Dirk Elbers said in a statement that he would insure “open and transparent” investigation into the situation.

“The Wehrhahn line will be absolutely secure,” he said.

Cities that may have worked with Bilfinger Berger on U-Bahn construction in the last 40 years have been asked to file reports.

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CRIME

German jailed for life in double police murder

A German man was given a life sentence on Wednesday for shooting dead two police officers to escape being caught for illegal game hunting during a routine traffic check.

German jailed for life in double police murder

The regional court in Kaiserslautern found 39-year-old Andreas Schmitt guilty of the killings in January this year, which sent shockwaves across Germany.

His co-defendant, referred to by the court as Florian V., was found guilty of abetting illegal poaching.

The 33-year-old was in the car with Schmitt when the officers discovered dead game in the boot, investigators said.

“We are all to this day horrified that a supposed routine control could turn into a fatal incident,” Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said in a statement after the verdict.

READ ALSO: German prosecutors say poaching led to double police murder

The victims were a 24-year-old woman police officer still in training and her colleague, a 29-year-old man.

The young woman was killed by a single shot to the head, while the man was shot four times, investigators said.

The officers were able to report that they were checking a suspicious vehicle and that shots were being fired before radio contact broke off.

When backup arrived, the woman was already dead and the man fatally injured. The perpetrators had fled the scene.

The crime in the Kusel district of Rhineland-Palatinate state triggered a major manhunt, with police deploying helicopters and sniffer dogs, sealing off roads and warning local residents not to pick up hitchhikers.

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