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Alfred Herrhausen (30 January 1930, Essen – 30 November 1989) was a German banker and Chairman of Deutsche Bank. From 1971 onwards he was a member of the bank's board of directors. He was a member of the Steering Committee of the Bilderberg Group. He was an advisor to Helmut Kohl and a proponent of a unified European economy, as well as being an influential figure in shaping the policies towards developing nations.
Herrhausen fell victim to a sophisticated roadside bomb shortly after leaving his home in Bad Homburg on 30 November 1989. He was being chauffeured to work in his armoured Mercedes-Benz, with bodyguards in both a lead vehicle and another following behind. The bomb had been hidden in a saddle bag on a bicycle next to the road that the assassins knew Herrhausen would be traveling in his three-car convoy. In the bag was a 7 kg bomb that was detonated when Herrhausen's car interrupted a beam of infrared light as it passed the bicycle. The bomb targeted the most vulnerable area of Herrhausen's car – the door where he was sitting – and required split-second timing to overcome the car's special armour plating. The bomb utilized a Misznay-Schardin mechanism. A copper plate, placed between the explosive and the target, was deformed and projected by the force of the explosion. It is unlikely that this improvised explosive device had the precise engineering required to form the liner into a more effective slug or "carrot" shape (as in a shaped charge or an EFP). The detonation resulted in a mass of copper being projected toward the car at a speed of nearly two kilometers per second, effectively penetrating the armoured Mercedes. Herrhausen's legs were severed and he bled to death.
No one has ever been charged with the murder. For a long time[when?], the German federal prosecutor office listed Andrea Klump and Christoph Seidler of the Red Army Faction as the only suspects. The Federal Criminal Police Office (Germany) presented a chief witness Siegfried Nonne who later retracted his statements in which he claimed to have sheltered four terrorists in his home. His half-brother Hugo Föller furthermore declared that no other persons had been at the flat at the time. On 1 July 1992 German television broadcast Nonne's explanations of how he was coached and threatened by the Verfassungsschutz, the German internal intelligence agency, to become the main witness. In 2004 the federal prosecutor dropped the charges against the Red Army Faction; the investigation was to continue without naming a suspect. Certain German and US media connected the assassination of Alfred Herrhausen to the Staatssicherheitsdienst (Stasi) of the GDR.
The search of the motive for his killing strikes attention to the fact that Mr. Herrhausen strongly suggested to write off all debts owed by developing countries, a proposal he brought before the World Bank in 1987 as well as to a Bilderberg Meeting in 1988. His suggestions however were met with strong opposition, especially from U.S. bankers who were prepared to battle him on his proposal, and who also objected to internal reforms of the Deutsche Bank which he intended to implement for Germany.
From then on concern for his safety made him wear a bullet-proof vest, his Mercedes car was armor-plated and accompanied by 2 cars staffed with security guards. When the bomb went off and struck his side of the door, none of his security guards stepped out to see to his safety and aid. He died bleeding to death from having the main artery on one of his legs severed.
Some authors[who?] speculate that in view of the complex nature surrounding the preparations for his murder the U.S. American Secret Service of the CIA may have been involved.
All of Mr. Herrhausen’s proposals for structural changes to the Deutsche Bank as well as the idea of debt relief to third-world countries were abandoned by his successor Mr. Hilmar Kopper and belittled as “not-to-be-taken-serious” expressions of Herrhausen’s ideas.
The award-winning German documentary movie of 2001 Black Box BRD retells the lives and deaths of Alfred Herrhausen and Wolfgang Grams, a Marxist terrorist who was a major suspect in the attack on Herrhausen.
- "Former Steering Committee Members". bilderbergmeetings.org. Bilderberg Group. Archived from the original on February 2, 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-08.
- Protzman, Ferdinand. "Head of Top West German Bank Is Killed in Bombing by Terrorists", The New York Times, 1 December 1989. Accessed 5 January 2016.
- Dittmer, Diana. "Mord an Herrhausen bleibt ein Rätsel", N-TV, 28 November 2014. Accessed 13 January 2016.
- Thomas Moser: Andreas Veiel: Black Box BRD. Alfred Herrhausen, die Deutsche Bank, die RAF und Wolfgang Grams. Deutschlandfunk, 23 December 2002