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CRIME

Germany wants ‘tax FBI’

Germany's finance minister said on Thursday he would welcome the state setting up a “tax FBI” in order to make it more difficult for people to stash money abroad in tax havens.

Germany wants 'tax FBI'

Wolfgang Schäuble told the Süddeutsche Zeitung daily newspaper that in the light of recent offshore tax evasion revelations, the German government needed more enforcement capability to pursue scofflaws. The FBI refers to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

If the 16 separate German states wanted “the federal tax office to have more power to combat tax dodging, then that would clearly be a welcomed step,” he Christian Democratic politician said.

He added that it must be clear giving more authority to the central government alone would not be enough – states had to act more in cooperation with each other.

“The core of the problem is that fact that states let different tax evasion strategies play off against each other,” he told the paper. Not, he added, a lack of cohesion between federal government and states.

The idea of tightening the ropes on tax dodgers is not new, as Finance Ministry official Steffen Kampeter told state broadcaster ARD last week that “Germany needs an FBI to combat international tax fraud.”

The Local/jcw

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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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