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CRIME

Workers help steal €3 million in parts from BMW

A gang of thieves systematically stole up to €3 million worth of auto parts from the Munich BMW plant and sold them through internet auctions, police said Friday.

Workers help steal €3 million in parts from BMW
Photo: DPA

Two of the 18-member gang had worked for the auto maker for years, while another had worked as a contractor for the firm, investigator Robert Weber said.

Those three suspects are on remand. They face charges of theft, handling stolen goods and deception. The gang stole everything from blank keys to wheel covers to gear sticks, daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reported.

The big earner, though, was stealing and reselling car seats.

They forged production orders to have the seats made by factory colleagues. The seats were then pulled from production on the pretence of quality control.

Weber estimated the total losses to BMW at between €2 million and €3 million. The gang allegedly transferred their profits to foreign bank accounts, partly in Turkey.

The fraud was first identified by BMW’s own investigators, who then passed the matter on to police, company spokesman Michael Rebstock told Süddeutsche Zeitung. He said it was rare to see theft at a BMW plant.

“But with 31,000 workers in the Munich area, there can sometimes be a black sheep,” he said.

DAPD/The Local/dw

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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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