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CRIME

Greek telecom reportedly suing for Siemens slush fund secrets

Greek telephone company OTE reportedly wants a German court to force engineering giant Siemens to reveal whether it paid bribes to OTE employees to secure a $1-billion contract.

The daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Saturday that OTE had gone to the Munich court in the first legal action taken by a foreign company against Siemens over a slush fund the German firm has admitted operating.

OTE wants the court to order Siemens to reveal details of an internal inquiry into its activities in Greece, with a view to eventually suing for damages.

Greek prosecutors are investigating the 1997 contract, which Siemens is suspected of securing by paying 75 million dollars to OTE executives. Greek politicians are also alleged to have benefitted from the German company’s largesse.

The Siemens scandal erupted in late 2006 and has shaken the group to its core. The sprawling conglomerate has acknowledged that €1.3 billion ($2 billion) were funneled into various funds used to obtain foreign contracts, and that the practice was widespread across its numerous divisions.

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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