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German energy executive severely injured in acid attack

March 5, 2018

The finance chief of an RWE renewable energy subsidiary was struck by unknown assailants as he crossed a park near Düsseldorf. Police said they were investigating "in every direction."

Bernhard Günther
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/M. Meissner

A German energy executive has been badly injured in an acid attack, his company confirmed early Monday. Bernhard Günther, the CFO of energy giant RWE's green subsidiary, Innogy, was struck as he crossed a park in Haan, a well-to-do suburb of Düsseldorf, on Sunday. 

"We are deeply shocked," said Innogy chairman Uwe Tiggs. "Our thoughts are with Bernhard and his family and we wish him a speedy recovery."

Read more: Attack on Innogy CFO not the first in Germany

Two unknown perpetrators poured acid over the 51-year-old's face before fleeing the scene on foot, according to a statement Günther made to police.

The victim staggered home to get help and was rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries. His condition is now believed to be stable. 

Düsseldorf police said they were investigating "in every direction," but that they had no current leads to the motive.

Read more: US tourists hospitalized after acid attack in France

Initial speculation

Fight for Hambach Forest

According to popular German daily Bild, investigators were probing whether the attack on the 51-year-old executive had anything to do with the ongoing fight between environmentalists and RWE over a forest between the western cities of Cologne and Aachen.

Hambach Forest, which is over 12,000 years old, is extremely rich in biodiversity compared to other forests in Germany. However, due to development, only ten percent of the original forest remains. Since 2012, RWE and environmentalists have been in conflict over the company's open-pit lignite mine on the site, which at 33 square miles is the largest in Europe.

Over the years, environmentalists have staged a series of occupations in the forest to try and stop mining company vehicles from entering the woods.

es/rt (AFP, Reuters)