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CRIME

Scandal-plagued insurer accused of ethnic discrimination

A subsidiary of a German insurance company under fire for a controversial company sex party has now been accused of denying auto insurance to foreigners.

Scandal-plagued insurer accused of ethnic discrimination
Photo: DPA

DAS, which is owned by the Ergo company – dogged by allegations employees at its Hamburg-Mannheimer unit held an orgy for top salesmen in Budapest several years ago – is said to have discriminated against Russians, Poles and Italians.

But Turks were particularly shunned, according to this week’s edition of Der Spiegel magazine.

“Turks were especially unwelcome as customers,” a former insurance agent told Der Spiegel.

When company officials noticed people with unusual names applying for auto insurance – even if they had German citizenship – they immediately demanded an explanation from insurance agents and rarely granted coverage, the magazine reported.

The policy was supposedly always communicated orally, but never in writing in order to avoid the eyes of regulators.

But an Ergo spokesman denied the allegations.

“Prices since 1995 have had no surcharges, or the like, which are linked to the nationality of the customer,” the spokesman said, adding that a full evaluation showed “no discrimination.”

In addition to the sex party revelations, Ergo has been confronted with charges that it overcharged Germans saving for retirement with so-called Riester-Rente accounts.

The Local/mdm

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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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