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CRIME

Commerzbank fined £595,000 in Britain

British financial regulators said on Tuesday they had fined the London branch of German bank Commerzbank £595,000 for repeatedly failing to provide accurate transaction reports.

Commerzbank fined £595,000 in Britain

“For two years Commerzbank either failed to report or reported inaccurately almost all of its reportable transactions,” the Financial Services Authority said in a statement.

These breaches took place despite “repeated reminders” to firms of their reporting obligations to the FSA and “specific requests to Commerzbank for the firm to check its data,” it said.

The fine, worth €686,000 or $912,000, was reduced by 30 percent because Commerzbank cooperated fully with the investigation, the FSA said, adding that the penalty would otherwise have been £850,000.

The German bank said in a brief statement: “Commerzbank has fully cooperated with the FSA and is deeply committed to meeting its regulatory obligations.”

The FSA noted that it was the fifth time since August 2009 that it imposed a fine against a company for failing to provide accurate transaction reports. The agency uses the data to detect and investigate suspected market abuse such as insider trading and market manipulation.

The Labour government created the FSA in 1997 and wants to increase its powers. The Conservative opposition has vowed to eliminate the agency and hand its powers to the Bank of England if they win May 6 general elections.

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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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