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CRIME

Poker heist haul still a mystery despite arrests

Despite having five suspects in custody over the recent spectacular poker heist in Berlin, police have recovered just €4,000 of the estimated €242,000 stolen, authorities said Tuesday.

Poker heist haul still a mystery despite arrests
Photo: DPA

One of the five suspects arrested had handed over the €4,000 – part of the €5,000 he received after the robbery, which took place at a poker tournament at Berlin’s luxury Park Hyatt hotel just over two weeks ago.

“The rest he spent on the run, according to the information he’s given,” said state prosecution spokesman Martin Steltner.

He said the members of the gang had been given highly unequal shares of the haul – with three of the robbers getting up to €45,000 each while another had to make do with €5,000. The largest share, €100,000, went to the gang’s mastermind.

This mastermind had “given his share to someone,” Steltner said.

With the vast majority of the haul still missing, police were looking for further suspects, including “clients and backers,” said police chief Dieter Glietsch.

The men had burst into the hotel at Potsdamer Platz at 2:15 pm on March 6, overrunning security guards and causing panic among the roughly 400 contestants in the European Poker Tour Tournament.

A security guard managed to disarm one of the men, grab a bag full of money and hold the man in a headlock, but he was freed by his accomplices. Several people were injured during the heist, but none seriously.

The men then fled without their masks. They were filmed leaving and also left behind fingerprints and DNA evidence at the scene.

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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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