K1 ponzi scheme suspect commits suicide

Dieter Frerichs, a German hedge fund manager, has committed suicide to avoid arrest and possible deportation to his homeland where he is wanted for fraud, Spanish police said Tuesday.

The 72-year-old managing director of the K1 group shot himself in his villa on the Spanish island of Majorca on Saturday.

“He put a bullet through his head when he saw the police coming to arrest him,” said a police officer. “He fell into the water.”

Frerichs’ house was on a rocky ledge overlooking the sea.

The alleged K1 ponzi scheme is thought to have run into hundreds of millions of euros and has been likened to the Madoff scandal in the United States.

The hedge fund group was registered in the British Virgin Islands. It had attracted the attention of Germany’s financial sector watchdog BaFin since June 2004.

German lawyer Klaus Nieding told AFP in October he feared a “new Madoff case,” saying: “Estimations of damages run from €500 million to €1 billion, of which half involves institutional investors.”

The French bank BNP Paribas is among the investors concerned and an investigation has also begun in the United States.

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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.