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    BERLIN (AP) — German prosecutors said Monday that they have seized three apartments and a bank account owned by a Russian lawmaker and his wife under European Union sanctions imposed because of the invasion of Ukraine. Prosecutors in Munich said the Duma lawmaker and his wife — identified only as L. and K. respectively in line with German privacy rules — jointly own two of the apartments in the Bavarian city, and continued to earn money from rent on the properties in violation of sanctions. They said the wife, who is registered as a resident in Munich, also is the sole owner of a third Munich apartment on which she continued to collect rent. That means both are suspected of violating Germany’s foreign trade law. The seizure was ordered last week and took effect on Monday, prosecutors said. The people living in the apartments are allowed to stay, but they’re no longer allowed to pay rent to the lawmaker and his wife; payments must be deposited with the Munich district court. The bank account that was seized receives monthly...
    BERLIN (AP) – Chancellor-designate Olaf Scholz announced Monday that an epidemiologist who has been a prominent voice of caution in the coronavirus pandemic will be Germany’s new health minister, part of a team that includes the first woman to become the country’s top security official. Scholz presented his center-left Social Democrats’ nominees for the Cabinet hours before the last of the prospective partners in the new government, the environmentalist Greens, planned to announce whether their members have voted in a ballot to approve a three-party coalition deal. That would clear the way for parliament to elect Scholz on Wednesday after conventions of the Social Democrats and the pro-business Free Democrats backed the accord at the weekend. His election will end the 16-year tenure of outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel. The most closely watched appointment was that of the health minister, as Germany struggles to bring down its highest coronavirus infection rates of the pandemic so far. Scholz chose Karl Lauterbach, an epidemiologist and media-savvy lawmaker who lacks executive experience but has been one of Germany’s most prominent voices urging caution and...
    BERLIN (AP) – A lawmaker with German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party has died after collapsing on a plane during a flight home to Germany. Karin Strenz, 53, was flying back from Cuba with her husband, said Eckhardt Rehberg, a fellow lawmaker with their centre-right Christian Democratic Union party, according to news agency dpa. The plane made an emergency landing in Ireland, but rescuers were unable to save Strenz, Rehberg said late Sunday. It was unclear what the cause of death was or why she had travelled to Cuba. The German parliament’s lower house, the Bundestag, said Monday she wasn’t travelling on official parliamentary business. Prosecutors in Schwerin said they had opened an investigation to determine the cause of her death, standard practice in such cases, and would request assistance from Ireland. They said they expect that an autopsy will be conducted in Ireland. Strenz had been a member of the German parliament since 2009, representing a constituency in the north-eastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. She didn’t plan to seek re-election in Germany’s Sept. 26 election. Early last year, Strenz and...
    BERLIN (AP) — A lawmaker with German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party has died after collapsing on a plane during a flight home to Germany. Karin Strenz, 53, was flying back from Cuba with her husband, said Eckhardt Rehberg, a fellow lawmaker with their center-right Christian Democratic Union party, according to news agency dpa. The plane made an emergency landing in Ireland, but rescuers were unable to save Strenz, Rehberg said late Sunday. It was unclear what the cause of death was or why she had traveled to Cuba. Strenz had been a member of the German parliament since 2009, representing a constituency in the northeastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. She didn’t plan to seek re-election in Germany’s Sept. 26 election. Early last year, Strenz and another lawmaker were targeted in raids by prosecutors investigating alleged money transfers from Azerbaijan. Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.
    BERLIN (AP) — A lawmaker from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party is stepping down following allegations he was involved in questionable lobbying activity for Azerbaijan, German media reported Thursday. Berlin-based daily Die Welt quoted Mark Hauptmann of the center-right Christian Democratic Union as denying that he received money from abroad, but acknowledging that Azerbaijan and other countries paid for advertisements in a newspaper he publishes. The Spiegel weekly had reported that the 36-year-old repeatedly spoke out in favor of the authoritarian, oil-rich nation in the past. Hauptmann told Welt that he was never influenced in his political decisions and that he was resigning because of the criticism he has faced, adding: “I want to protect my family.” Two other members of Merkel’s bloc resigned in recent days amid allegations they profited from brokering deals to procure masks early in the pandemic. The bloc, comprising the Christian Democratic Union and the Bavaria-only Christian Social Union, has seen its support dip in recent opinion polls but remains by far the most popular political force in Germany. Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights...
    BERLIN (AP) — German lawmakers say they plan to question Chancellor Angela Merkel and her deputy, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, about their involvement with the collapsed payment systems provider Wirecard next month. Members of the parliamentary committee set up to investigate the Wirecard scandal said Wednesday that the long-time chancellor will be summoned to testify on April 23, a day after Scholz, the center-left Social Democrats' candidate to succeed Merkel in this fall's national election. Wirecard filed for protection from creditors through insolvency proceedings in June after admitting that 1.9 billion euros ($2.3 billion) supposedly held in trust accounts in the Philippines probably didn't exist. Opposition lawmaker accused authorities — from financial supervisors to prosecutors and auditors — of looking the other way despite reports of irregularities at Wirecard dating back at least five years. “We in Germany have a culture of non-responsibility, of looking mainly at who has jurisdiction and who doesn't have jurisdiction, and not thinking enough about the bigger picture,” said Florian Toncar, a lawmaker for the pro-business Free Democratic Party. “Our impression, by the way, is...
    BERLIN (AP) — German lawmakers say they plan to question Chancellor Angela Merkel and her deputy, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, about their involvement with the collapsed payment systems provider Wirecard next month. Members of the parliamentary committee set up to investigate the Wirecard scandal said Wednesday that the long-time chancellor will be summoned to testify on April 23, a day after Scholz, the center-left Social Democrats’ candidate to succeed Merkel in this fall’s national election. Wirecard filed for protection from creditors through insolvency proceedings in June after admitting that 1.9 billion euros ($2.3 billion) supposedly held in trust accounts in the Philippines probably didn’t exist. Opposition lawmaker accused authorities — from financial supervisors to prosecutors and auditors — of looking the other way despite reports of irregularities at Wirecard dating back at least five years. “We in Germany have a culture of non-responsibility, of looking mainly at who has jurisdiction and who doesn’t have jurisdiction, and not thinking enough about the bigger picture,” said Florian Toncar, a lawmaker for the pro-business Free Democratic Party. “Our impression, by the way, is...
    BERLIN (AP) — A lawmaker with German Chancellor Angela Merkel's party said Sunday he will give up his seat in parliament and leave politics after it emerged that his company profited from deals to procure masks early in the pandemic — drawing sharp criticism in an election year. Nikolas Loebel, a backbench lawmaker with Merkel's center-right Christian Democratic Union, was blasted by members of his own party and opponents after it emerged Friday that a company he runs earned commissions of 250,000 euros ($298,000) from brokering contracts to buy masks. Saying that he should have been “more sensitive," Loebel admitted that he had made a mistake and gave up his seat on parliament's foreign affairs committee. That wasn't enough for critics — particularly as his home state of Baden-Wuerttemberg elects a new regional legislature on March 14. A national election in which Germans will choose a new parliament, and determine who succeeds Merkel, follows on Sept. 26. Susanne Eisenmann, the CDU candidate for governor in Baden-Wuerttemberg, told news magazine Der Spiegel that “it is unacceptable for parliamentarians to enrich themselves...
    The Daily Beast This Cali Mom Vanished 2 Months Ago. Her Husband Has Stopped Cooperating. Facebook/Help Find MayWhen Maya “May” Millete stopped answering texts in a family group chat on Jan. 7, her older sister wasn’t immediately worried.Millete, a defense contractor at Naval Base San Diego, would sometimes be slow to respond to her six siblings, but the family was planning a trip to a cabin in Big Bear for Millete’s daughter’s 11th birthday. Texts and calls to make arrangements were going unanswered.“Both May and her husband Larry’s phones were off and going directly to voicemail,” Maricris Drouaillet, 47, told The Daily Beast this week. “It was extremely unusual for my sister to be off her phone for that long—let alone turn it off and not be in communication with us at all. Especially since we had a plan to go on a trip that day for her daughter’s birthday.”“I just felt off—like something wasn’t right,” the registered nurse added.It wasn’t until Drouaillet’s older brother went to Millete’s Chula Vista home that the family really started to worry. There, the...
    BERLIN (Reuters) - German lawmakers on Wednesday questioned Finance Minister Olaf Scholz over his failure to detect and prevent the Wirecard [WDIG.DE] accounting scandal, one of the biggest in post-war history. Payment services company Wirecard filed for insolvency last month after admitting that 1.9 billion euros ($2.2 billion) supposedly held in trustee accounts by overseas partners probably did not exist. Prosecutors have arrested former Wirecard Chief Executive Markus Braun and two other former executives on suspicion of orchestrating a years-long criminal racket to inflate revenue and balances to hide losses dating back at least to 2015. Scholz entered the closed-door meeting in the parliament's finance committee without giving a statement to reporters, but he earlier told public broadcaster ARD that no mistakes had been made. "What has to be done has been done," Scholz said, adding that a big, internationally renowned accounting firm had also not detected the irregularities at Wirecard for many years. Scholz last week rushed out a reform agenda that would give financial watchdog BaFin greater investigative and enforcement powers, broaden its mandate to cover non-banking financial...
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