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CRIME

Munich customs rocked by huge corruption scandal

State prosecutors in Munich have raided the offices of several customs and transport authorities and are investigating 24 people suspected of tax evasion, fraud, forgery and corruption.

Munich customs rocked by huge corruption scandal
Photo: DPA

More than 400 officers searched a total of 83 apartments, offices, vehicles and a customs office on Tuesday in one of the largest investigations targeting the southern German city’s customs and transport officials. Investigators have arrested nine people so far.

Several customs officials are suspected of expediting export application approvals without examining the goods in return for cash, according to the official investigation. Transport officials are also suspected of forging documents.

“Customs officials are suspected of having illegally accepted and confirmed export applications without checking the goods,” a statement from the state prosecutor’s office said, adding that the probe currently focused on a total of 24 suspects.

The catalogue of crimes that customs and travel officials are accused of is long. It includes violating the country’s foreign trade law, corruption, tax evasion, fraud and forgery.

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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