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CRIME

Swede held for dramatic 1995 German bank robbery

A 32-year-old Swede has been arrested on suspicions of having participated in the spectacular 1995 robbery of a bank in Berlin.

Swede held for dramatic 1995 German bank robbery

The robbers fled police through an underground tunnel.

An arrest warrant has been issued for the man in Germany for being an accomplice in the remarkable theft, which took place when he was only 19-years-old.

Thieves made off with the equivalent of 16.3 million Deutsch marks, ($12.4 million), 10 million Deutsch marks of which was never recovered.

“The man now arrested is suspected of having helped dig the tunnel,” said spokesperson Michael Grunwald with the public prosecutor’s office in Berlin.

During the afternoon of June 27th, 1995, four masked and armed men entered a bank branch in the Zehlendorf neighbourhood of southern Berlin.

They took 16 customers and employees hostage, laid out hand grenades in front of the door, and demanded 17 million Deutsch marks, a car, and a safe get away.

They later received 5.6 million marks, and managed to get the rest from within the bank by breaking open 207 of 400 bank vaults.

What police didn’t know at the time was that there were actually six robbers in the bank. Two more had entered through an underground tunnel.

The thieves then used the tunnel to escape.

When police stormed the bank they found only the entrance to the 170 metre long tunnel. It was later described in an investigation as “a masterpiece of construction”, and included electricity lines, lighting, and fans.

So far six men have been convicted for the bank robbery. Many of them have already served their sentences.

During the spring, the 32-year-old man, who has lived in Sweden for many years, came to the attention of German authorities. A European arrest warrant was issued instructing Swedish authorities to extradite the man to Germany.

A warrant for the man was issued on May 26th, he was arrested a few days later and is now being held by Swedish police.

Lead prosecutor Ulf Forsberg won’t comment more on the suspicions in Germany against the 32-year-old or as to why German police suspect him.

POLITICS

Sweden extradites suspected PKK terror group member to Turkey

Sweden has extradited a convicted member of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) to Turkey as Ankara presses Stockholm for further steps in return for its membership in NATO, state media reported on Saturday.

Sweden extradites suspected PKK terror group member to Turkey

Mahmut Tat, who was sentenced to six years and 10 months in jail for PKK membership in Turkey, fled to Sweden in 2015 but his asylum request was rejected.

Tat arrived in Istanbul on Friday night having been detained by Swedish police, the Anadolu news agency reported.

He was taken by Turkish police soon after arriving at Istanbul airport and referred to court on Saturday, the private NTV broadcaster reported.

Turkey has accused Finland and Sweden in particular of providing a safe haven for outlawed Kurdish groups it deems “terrorists”, and held back on ratifying their NATO bids despite an agreement in Madrid in June.

NATO ambitions

Finland and Sweden dropped decades of military non-alignment and sought to join NATO in May, after Russia invaded Ukraine.

The decision requires a consensus within the US-led defence alliance, but only Turkey and Hungary are yet to ratify their membership.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu held trilateral talks with his Swedish and Finnish counterparts on the margins of a NATO meeting in Bucharest this week.

“The statements (coming out of Sweden) are good, the determination is good but we need to see concrete steps,” Cavusoglu said.

Ankara has said it expects Stockholm to take action on issues including the extradition of criminals and freezing of terror assets.

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