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Insurer covered terrorist wanted internationally

The Local · 21 Oct 2011, 10:51

Published: 21 Oct 2011 10:51 GMT+02:00

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The paper said on Friday that although the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Verfassungsschutz) warned Victoria about its terrorist customer, the firm, which is owned by the Düsseldorf-based Ergo group, maintained his insurance coverage.

Yasser Abu Shaweesh, a stateless Palestinian, planned to defraud the company on his life insurance, with a staged traffic accident and fake death certificate, the paper said. He had planned to use the money to fund attacks with his terror group which the United Nations says was linked with al-Qaida.

He signed up for several insurance policies with Victoria in September 2004, the paper said – a life insurance for himself worth €21,805, another for his wife worth €211,660, and third-party liability insurance worth up to €2 million.

After the Verfassungsschutz warning, Abu Shaweesh’s own life insurance was cancelled, but that for his wife and the liability insurance continued to run until December 2006, the paper said.

Even a plea from the insurance agent who had overseen the signing of the policies was ignored, according to the Handelsblatt which has a statement on oath from the agent.

A UN Security Council report on Abu Shaweesh from 2009 said he had in fact taken out nine life insurance policies with a number of firms, reaching a total value of more than €1.2 million, and tried to increase this total to more than €4 million with 19 further life insurance policies.

“Insurers cannot do business with terrorists,” said Chrsitian Lübke from the Association of the German Insurance Industry.

“When there is evidence for a planned fraud, the insurer must of course act. It cannot be possible for a terrorist to get third party liability protection for building a bomb, and the insurer simply watches.”

Spokesman for Ergo Alexander Becker said he could not make a statement for legal reasons. “Of course we keep to the legal standards on fighting money laundering and financing terrorism and we have relevant internal control mechanisms,” he said. But he added that without a specific lifting of its duty of confidentiality from the customer, no information could be released on particular cases.

Abu Shaweesh was part of the network run by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Joradnian who organised dozens of bomb attacks between 1999 and 2006, when the Americans killed him in an air attack, the paper said.

Ergo knew of Abu Shaweesh’s terrorist background at least as of November 2004, yet retained him as an active customer until December 2006, by which time he had been on the United Nations’ terrorist list for a year.

Story continues below…

He was convicted in 2007 for supporting a foreign terrorist organisation and several counts of fraud and attempted fraud, and was sentenced for five-and-a-half years in prison.

Ergo gained international attention earlier this year after it emerged that a different subsidiary, Hamburg Mannheimer, had organised a sex party as an incentive for its top representatives in 2007.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

23:06 October 21, 2011 by wenddiver
Do you have an address on the policy, we would like to send him a free Hellfire Missile or trip to GITMO for being a good customer?
12:47 October 22, 2011 by nemo999
Well we have his address, one of the Federal Prisons. Although it sounds like he should be applying for insurance some either late 2012 or early 2013, after his release, that assumes he is not deported. Does Germany deport terrorists? How did he get into the EU? I will bet it was through one of the southern dead beat European Union Countries. Or was it through one of those bleeding heart northern European Union Countries?

Well sleep tight Germany and the other members of European Union knowing that this individual has a roof over his head, a warm bed at night, clean clothes to wear, and good wholesome German cuisine with generous portions, the right to practice his religion, and free medical care. Given his intent, it is amazing that his sentence was for 5 1/2 years, the judge must have been in a nasty mood that day.
14:51 October 22, 2011 by wenddiver
If he is in Prison, we can pick him up on his release date. Cancel the Hellfire missile and make up a congratulatory Ham basket and free trip on his release date.
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