SHARE
COPY LINK

CRIME

Police raid ‘cosmic’ German commune

Around 400 police on Tuesday raided the southern German homes and offices of a guru-like leader of a new age organic farming commune suspected of widespread fraud.

Police raid 'cosmic' German commune
Photo: DPA

Police arrested the 54-year-old, who has not been named, as well as six other suspects as they raided around 100 offices and homes and seized assets worth several million euros, a spokesman for the prosecutors said.

The man is believed to have exerted strong personal control over members of a “highly hierarchical” farming commune in Aichstetten in southern Germany known as St. Michaelshof, prosecutors in the southern city of Ravensburg said.

He is suspected of hiding millions of euros from the tax authorities with methods such as fictitious bills and ghost workers using a complex web of companies he created, they said.

According to its website, St. Michaelshof produces organic cheeses, breads and other foodstuffs made using “cosmic-biodynamic” methods and the “energetic power of the stars.”

The raids took place at 35 different locations including food markets, a doctor’s practice and accountants offices. Prosecutors said the operation was prompted by allegations of money laundering made last year by a local bank.

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.

SHOW COMMENTS