German police undercover agent linked to murder of three Georgians

Other News Materials 28 February 2008 19:32 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - An undercover agent with the German police charged with the surveillance of Islamists is being held in connection with the violent death of three Georgians, prosecutors said Thursday.

Prosecutors confirmed the arrest of a second man but would not comment on a press report that identified him as an Islamist extremist.

The announcement of the arrests followed the discovery of the bodies of the Georgian men in the city of Mannheim in the south-western state of Baden-Wuerttemberg on Wednesday. They had apparently been murdered.

According to a report in the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung, blood from one of the men was found in a white Ford Escort car found in a parking garage at Frankfurt airport that was owned by police in the neighbouring state of Rhineland-Palatinate and used by the undercover agent.

The Georgian victims, aged 28, 39 and 48, are reported to have come to Germany with a large sum in cash with the aim of buying second-hand cars. There was no suggestion of any illegality in their plans.

The men were last seen in Ludwigshafen in Rhineland-Palatinate on January 30, when they got into a white car, thought to be that of the undercover agent, who was himself linked to the motor trade, according to the press report.

The Sueddeutsche Zeitung report said that according to one theory, the men were murdered by Islamist extremists who took exception to their Georgian origin, as Georgia did not assist Islamist rebels in Chechnya.

Another theory is that the men were murdered for their money, possibly with the intention of using the funds for Islamist purposes.