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CRIME

IKB bank boss convicted for accounting cover-up

A court handed a former head of IKB bank, the first German casualty of the global financial meltdown, a suspended prison sentence on Wednesday for covering up losses from the US subprime crisis.

IKB bank boss convicted for accounting cover-up

The regional court in the western city of Düsseldorf gave Stefan Ortseifen a 10-month suspended sentence and ordered him to give €100,000 ($127,000) to charity.

In their verdict on charges of stock price manipulation, the judges ruled that Ortseifen had “presented an embellished take on the institution’s financial health in July 2007 in light of the US property crisis.”

Ortseifen is the first German banker to be convicted over wrongdoing during the financial crisis.

The defendant’s lawyer Reinhard Freiherr von Dalwigk called the verdict a “blatant misjudgement” and said his client would file an appeal.

Ortseifen is blamed for steering IKB into peril with risky investments in the US sub-prime property market and then cooking the books so the losses would not weigh on the bank’s share price.

When IKB ran into serious trouble in 2007, the German government scrambled to save it from collapse with a €10-billion cash injection. The bank was sold in 2008 to US-based investment fund Lone Star.

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CRIME

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.

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