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CRIME

Police raid German-based Ford plants in corruption probe

Some 100 police officers raided sites linked to the US automaker Ford in Germany early Monday in connection with a corruption probe, prosecutors in the western city of Cologne said.

Police raid German-based Ford plants in corruption probe
Photo: DPA

Searches were carried out at Ford plants, at an unidentified company in the western German city of Leverkusen, and at about 30 other locations that included private homes, a statement said.

“We also arrested one person,” Cologne state prosecutor Christina Pohlen told news agency DPA.

Prosecutors said they had been working since September on an investigation that involved Ford staff and others suspected of corruption.

According to the prosecutor’s office in Cologne, Ford staff are suspected of regularly receiving “material advantages” from companies that work with the automaker or which sought contracts with it.

In exchange, the Ford workers allegedly favoured benefactors when contracts were being decided upon or established false bills in their favour.

“The state prosecutor’s office also examined the work stations of several people under suspicion at the company Ford,” company spokesperson Bernd Meier told DPA, adding that the company was working closely with investigators.

AFP/DPA/ka

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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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