Neo-Nazi gang members linked to German security agency

Published 08.04.2016 00:00
Updated 08.04.2016 00:01

German media reported that Uwe Mundlos, a deceased member of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Underground (NSU) gang, and Beate Zschaepe, the gang's only surviving member, were linked to an undercover agent for the German domestic security agency. The revelation is the latest accusation regarding the involvement of German intelligence with the gang responsible for racially motivated killings. German daily Die Welt reported that Mundlos, who was found dead in 2011 in an apparent suicide with fellow NSU member Uwe Boehnhardt, worked for Ralf Marschner, an employee of Germany's Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV). Die Welt said Mundlos, worked for Marschner between 2000 and 2002, while using a fake ID under the name Max Floria Burkhard.

The NSU started a killing spree in 2000 when its members allegedly killed Turkish-German citizen Enver Şimşek in Nurnberg. Between 2000 and 2007, the gang killed seven more Turks and a Greek, as well as a German policewoman. The gang was also behind a bomb attack in a predominantly Turkish neighborhood in Cologne, as well as a string of bank robberies.

German news agency DPA said Zschaepe, who is currently standing trial, also worked in the store run by Marschner. Zschaepe's trial has been underway since 2013 and the next hearing is scheduled for April 12. Zschaepe has denied she had any role in the killings.

In March, Doris Dierenbach, a lawyer for the family of Halit Yozgat, one of the Turkish-German citizens killed by the NSU, claimed German security agencies had "paved the way" for the NSU to flourish when an intelligence agency "foiled" the arrest of the trio in 1998. The lawyer filed a complaint, saying the state failed to prevent the gang's activities when it stepped in to stop the arrest by the police of an informant for the security agency. The informant would have likely led to more information about NSU members who were seeking to procure weapons in 1998, and probably to their arrest, argued the lawyer.

The NSU trial has been mired by a series of incidents overshadowing the case, such as the suspicious deaths of key witnesses who were familiar with the activities of the gang. German authorities were also blamed for failing to shed light on the possible connection between the gang and German intelligence, which recruited informants close to the gang from Germany's far-right scene.

Clemens Binninger, a lawmaker from the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party who heads a parliamentary investigation committee, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that he had doubts about the late discovery of the NSU's activities.

"Is it true that there was no informant, who at least knew where this trio lived? I believe only a small circle of people were aware of the NSU's crimes, but I am not sure whether there was an informant among them. But this still doesn't answer the question; I seriously doubt that there isn't a single informant who would at least knew the suspects' whereabouts during the 11-year period they committed the crimes.

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