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Police raid Heckler & Koch in bribery probe

Police have raided the headquarters of German gun maker Heckler & Koch as part of an investigation into illegal gun sales to the Mexican government.

Police raid Heckler & Koch in bribery probe
Photo: DPA

State police officers conducted the Thursday raid at the company’s Oberndorf corporate headquarters in Baden-Württemberg, searching the building and several nearby private homes for information about bribes the company is alleged to have paid to Mexican officials.

Those bribes are said to have resulted in weapons contracts with authorities in Mexico.

The company, which produces many of the world’s most popular small arms for police and military use, has been dogged by investigations into its Mexican operations for years.

Last December police searched its headquarters after it was accused of bribery and selling arms to Mexican states where serious human rights abuses had taken place.

It later said it never sold weapons directly to Mexican states, but rather directly to Mexico’s federal government.

This summer it emerged that rebels in Libya were using Heckler & Koch weapons, although the company denied selling weapons to anyone in the country. German prosecutors have since launched an investigation.

Although it has not yet responded directly to Thursday’s raid, Heckler and Koch has previously insisted all of its operations in Mexico were legal.

In its last statement on the matter, dated March 10, it said the company “never paid a cent of bribe money to Mexican officials to support the sales of the products. The allegation of bribery has been launched by a group of persons including a former H&K employee who is now working for a competing company.”

Heckler & Koch has been selling weapons to the Mexican government for more than 20 years.

The Local/DPA/mdm

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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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