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CRIME

German rare violin dealer jailed for fraud

German-born Dietmar Machold from Bremen, one of the world's foremost dealers in rare and expensive violins until his firm went bankrupt in 2010, has been sentenced in Austria to six years in jail for fraud.

German rare violin dealer jailed for fraud
Photo: DPA

“You played big and lost big,” presiding judge Claudia Moravec-Loidolt told the Vienna court on Friday. “But you showed willingness to accept the responsibility.”

At the height of his career Machold lived in a castle in Vienna and arranged the sales of violins worth millions of dollars made by Antonio Stradivari and other famed masters to clients around the world, with branches Zurich, Vienna, Bremen and New York.

Arrested in Switzerland in 2011 and extradited to Austria, the 63-year-old’s crimes included embezzling money from clients and obtaining millions in loans from banks using violins he did not own as collateral

His ex-wife and former mother-in-law were also given suspended sentences of 12 months in prison for helping Machold conceal assets from his creditors such as his collections of watches and cameras.

“I failed, and in my personal life too. I lost my beloved wife,” an emotional Machold told the court. “I cannot deny anything and for this I will be punished.”

AFP/jlb

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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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