84-Year-Old Man Receives £200,000 Fine For Hiding Nazi War Machines
An 84-year-old German man has been handed a £200,000 fine after it emerged he had been hiding illegal Nazi war machines, including a tank, in his basement.
As well as the fine, the state district in Kiel, a city in the north of Germany, has given the man a suspended prison sentence of 14 months, handing down the sentence on Tuesday, August 3.
The elderly man, who has not been named in accordance with German privacy laws, has been convicted of illegal weapons possession for keeping stockpiles of WW2-era weaponry, with his secret stash including a 45-ton Panther tank.
The illegal military arsenal was unearthed in 2015 during an investigation into black market Nazi-era art. Authorities raided the man’s home after receiving a tip-off, and discovered various items of military hardware inside his underground garage.
As well as the tank, investigators also came across a torpedo, mortars, anti-aircraft guns, machine guns, and automatic pistols, as well as 1,500 rounds of ammunition.
The defendant has been asked to sell or donate the tank, as well as an anti-aircraft cannon, to either a museum or a collector within the course of the next two years, AP News reports.
At the time of the raid, local media reports suggested the man was surprisingly open about his illicit weapons collection, even bringing the tank out to use as a makeshift plough during a period of heavy snowfall.
Before the announcement of the verdict was announced, the octogenarian’s lawyer read out a confession of the crimes in question on his behalf. The lawyer also insisted that his client is not a Nazi sympathizer, with the restoration project of the weapons being his ‘life’s work’.
Weapons of war are tightly regulated in accordance with the War Weapons Control Act, DW, reports. Penalties to those who break such rules will vary depending on how operational the weapons are, or whether or not they could once again be fixed back into working order.
Although the majority of Panther tanks produced were destroyed during WW2 or scrapped in the aftermath, it’s understood that allied powers also made use of some of them, with the Bundeswehr Military History Museum’s Jan Kindler telling DW, ‘There were tanks that were tested by the allies for their strengths and weaknesses.’
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