• Germany's news in English

Cops search for more anarchist letter bombs

The Local · 9 Dec 2011, 10:10

Published: 09 Dec 2011 10:10 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The authorities said they could not rule out an ongoing threat, saying they were continuing their investigation after an explosive device addressed to Deutsche Bank boss Josef Ackermann was discovered on Thursday.

"In the intensive search for evidence, authorities from the Hessian State Office of Criminal Investigation found a hidden, rolled up letter written in Italian," police said in a statement.

"In it, the 'FAI – Federazione Anarchica Informale' (Informal Anarchist Federation) claimed responsibility for the attempted letter bomb attack against Dr. Ackermann. The authors spoke of 'three explosions against banks, bankers, ticks and bloodsuckers'.”

They said the FAI was behind several attacks against European institutions, including an attempted letter bombing against the European Central Bank in Frankfurt in 2003.

"At that time, the FAI also wrote to claim responsibility,” authorities said, although German police were never able to identify individual suspects. "Their findings from that time are being used in the current probe," police said.

The brown envelope addressed to the Swiss-born Ackermann arrived at Deutsche Bank's mailroom and was x-rayed after it raised suspicion among staff. Police said Thursday it contained a live bomb.

A police spokesman said FAI's claim of responsibility had been found in the envelope.

Media reports said Ackermann was not in the building at the time.

In April, the FAI said it was behind a letter bomb which injured two people when it exploded at the offices of the Swiss nuclear energy association.

On the same day, an Italian military officer was wounded in an army barracks by a letter bomb apparently sent by the same group.

The FAI has also claimed responsibility for a letter bomb sent to a Greek top security prison where a number of far-left extremists are incarcerated.

And it was behind a parcel bombing campaign in Rome one year ago that injured two people at the embassies of Switzerland and Chile and also targeted the Greek embassy.

Occupy Frankfurt, a protest movement inspired by the anti-Wall Street protests against corporate greed in the United States, had earlier insisted it had "nothing to do" with the letter bomb and condemned the attempted attack.

"We do not fight against individuals but rather against the system," its spokesman, Frank Stegmaier, told news agency AFP.

A spokesman said Deutsche Bank had stepped up security as a result of the incident but declined to give further details.

The case came amid mounting anger in Europe over the role of banks in the eurozone debt crisis and the turmoil's impact on the economy at large.

The chairman of the German Police Union, Rainer Wendt, said the attempted attack must be taken "very seriously."

"This case shows with shocking clarity how important political decisions to end the financial crisis are so that social calm can return," he told the online service of business daily Handelsblatt.

The incident revived memories of the assassination of Deutsche Bank chief Alfred Herrhausen on November 30, 1989 in a sophisticated roadside bombing mounted by the left-wing urban guerrilla group Red Army Faction.

Story continues below…

The 63-year-old Ackermann has been a divisive figure since he took the helm of the bank in 2002. He plans to step down in May 2012 after the group's annual shareholder meeting and will be replaced by the German-Indian duo of Jürgen Fitschen and Anshu Jain.

The position of Deutsche Bank boss is an extremely high-profile job that requires its holder to mix with politicians and business leaders.

Chancellor Angela Merkel came in for sharp criticism at the height of the financial crisis in 2008 for appearing too chummy with Ackermann, even throwing a birthday dinner for him at her offices.

His €9.5-million ($12.7 million) salary had also raised eyebrows amid a government bailout of the banking sector.

AFP/DAPD/The Local/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
These are Germany's top ten universities
The new library of Freiburg University. Photo: Jörgens.mi / Wikimedia Commons

These are the best universities in all of Germany - at least according to one ranking.

Introducing Swabians - 'the Scots of Germany'
Photo: DPA

These Southern Germans have quite a reputation in the rest of the country.

Woman sues dentist over job rejection for headscarf
Photo: DPA

A dentist in Stuttgart is being taken to court by a woman whom he rejected for a job as his assistant on the basis that she wears a Muslim headscarf.

Isis suspect charged with scouting Berlin attack sites
Photo: DPA

German federal prosecutors said Thursday they had brought charges against a 19-year-old Syrian man accused of having scouted targets in Berlin for a potential attack by the Isis terror group.

Berlin Holocaust memorial could not be built now: creator
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

The architect of the Berlin Holocaust memorial has said that, if he tried to build the monument again today, it would not be possible due to rising xenophobia and anti-Semitism in Germany and the United States.

'Liberal' Germany stopping Europe's 'slide into barbarism'
Ian Kershaw. Photo: DPA

Europe is not slipping into the same dark tunnel of hate and nationalism that it did in the 1930s - mainly thanks to Germany - one of the continent's leading historians has said.

Eurowings strike to hit 40,000 passengers
Travelers impacted by the strike on Thursday wait at Cologne Bonn airport. Photo: DPA.

The day-long strike by a Eurowings cabin crew union is expected to impact some 40,000 passengers on Thursday as hundreds of flights have been cancelled.

Deutsche Bank reports surprise quarter billion profit
Photo: DPA

Troubled German lender Deutsche Bank reported Thursday a surprise €256-million profit in the third quarter, compared with a loss of more than six billion in the same period last year.

US 'warned Merkel' against Chinese takeover of tech firm
Aixtron HQ. Photo: DPA

The German government withdrew its approval for a Chinese firm to purchase Aixtron, which makes semiconductor equipment, after the US secret services raised security concerns, a German media report said Wednesday.

Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd