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FOOTBALL

Ex-Bayern footballer convicted of arson

Former Bayern Munich player Breno Borges was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison on Wednesday for setting light to his rented villa last autumn. His psychiatric problems did not mitigate the crime, the court found.

Ex-Bayern footballer convicted of arson
Photo: DPA

A blaze engulfed the rented villa Breno shared with his family in the upmarket Munich suburb of Grünewald on September 20 last year, resulting in millions of euros worth of damages.

During the trial, which has been running since mid-June, the prosecution argued that the 22-year-old Brazilian defender had intentionally started the blaze, acting out of frustration with a protracted knee injury, Die Welt daily reported on Wednesday.

Nobody was hurt in the fire, but prosecutor Nicolas Lanz said this was only because Breno’s wife and children had left shortly before it began.

Before the incident Breno – full name Vinicius Rodrigues Borges – had been getting psychiatric help at the renowned Max-Planck Psychiatry Institute, a fact many blamed on his chronic knee pain.

Reports suggested he had also developed a drinking problem during his extended recuperation.

Yet despite his documented psychiatric problems, the Munich Regional Court did not see sufficient cause for mitigating circumstances when considering the length of Breno’s sentence.

Meanwhile, the footballer’s defence lawyer Werner Leiter pleaded for acquittal on the grounds of lack of conclusive evidence, and high alcohol levels in Breno’s bloodstream at the time the fire began.

“There remain doubts over what really started the fire on that chaotic night,” Breno’s defence lawyer Werner Leiter told the court.

Breno will now have to give up hope of moving to the Italian club Lazio, which had already drawn up a contract with the defender following his departure from Bayern on June 30.

The deal hinged on the condition that Breno received no prison sentence in Germany.

The Local/jlb

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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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