The city of Mainz has a rich and impressive history dating back over 2,000 years when it was first founded by the Roman General Drusus. The Roman soldiers built their fort known as Maguntiacum and as the area grew, Mainz was soon established as an important and busy trading center. This ancient trading center is still carried on today. The Romans built many huge buildings and structures such as the Temple of Isis, the Magna Mater Temple and the colossal Drusus-Theatre, the ruins of which can be seen by train passengers as they approach the city from the south. This structure was in use for plays for over two centuries and was able to seat 10,000 people.
Around the mid-700s AD the archbishopric of Mainz was founded and its first archbishop was the English missionary Saint Boniface. The archbishopric was secularized in 1803 but not before it had acquired a great deal of power as well as land while under French control at that time.
The city has had its fair share of disasters in recent years as Mainz, being an important city, was bombed continually during World War Two until it was virtually destroyed. The city was rebuilt after the war, but in 1995 the city suffered severe flooding which caused a huge amount of damage and havoc not only in the city but throughout the whole of north western Europe.
Mainz is situated on the romantic River Rhine and is an ideal location for its lucrative trade center especially in wines. Mainz is the capital of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate and is also a popular university city. The city center is known as Old Town and has been created with widespread squares with the half-timbered buildings and Baroque churches all restored back to their former glory giving it its ‘gemuetlich’ or charming character.
Best time to go to Mainz
Mainz has a relatively comfortable climate during the summer and winter months. Summer temperatures rarely go beyond the 32°C (90°F) while the winter temperatures average around freezing.
With copious amounts of sunshine and the mild climate this makes Mainz an ideal destination for all manner of outdoor and many sporting activities especially for the younger crowd. River trip cruises are extremely popular throughout most months of the year.
A lot of visitors base the timing of their visit to coincide with one or more of the numerous festivals or events booked on to Mainz’s social calendar. This makes their trip a double experience of not only relaxation and enjoyment but also combining it with a cultural or social event.
The nearest major airport to Mainz is Frankfurt am Main Airport which is nearly 40 kms from Mainz city center. This airport serves international airlines as well as domestic flights from Frankfurt. An efficient bus service leaves the airport for Mainz every hour.
The other major airport is Frankfurt-Hahn Airport which is nearly 90 km from the city center. This is also an international airport and from the airport, there are direct bus services to the city center departing about every 90 minutes and will take just over an hour to reach Mainz city center.
There are several train stations in Mainz but the biggest one, Mainz Hauptbahnhof is the only station where the InterCity and InterCityExpress trains stop. This station is on the far western side of the city center. Also a fairly big station is the Mainz Romisches Theater which is in the southern part of the city, and is used for regional and commuter trains. This route is where you can spot the Drusus-Theatre ruins mentioned above.
Most tourists and visitors will arrive at Hauptbahnhof and from this station you will find that the majority of the long distance coaches use it as one of their main destination points along their routes. The station is also the hub for the local bus routes which includes the surrounding areas as well as Wiesbaden. At the bus ticket office you are able to purchase a variety of different ticket options to suit your visit.
As Mainz is situated on the River Rhine, the city has become a major tourist attraction as well as being both termination and departing points for many river cruises being offered by local companies. The majority of boats depart from either Koblenz or Cologne to Mainz or they depart from Mainz and cruise back to Cologne.
The city center itself is relatively small, making it very easy to get around on foot and there is very little chance of getting lost because of the many signposts dotted around the city and maps are also available from many points.
Major Attractions and Sights
There are various guided city tours on offer from the Touristik Centrale Mainz to specific sights of interest which will provide more in-depth explanations of each attraction. They will also arrange excursion trips by bus, train or boat, tickets for mardi gras parties and also provide a copy of the specially arranged Mainz annual program.
Although the city was virtually destroyed during the Second World War there are still some fine old buildings that miraculously survived in and around Mainz.
One of the finest Romanesque building sin the city is the 12th century cathedral which is famed for its beautiful sculpture. This sculpture was created by an unknown prolific artist from the middle ages and he is now known as the Master of Naumberg for his many artworks.
The Gutenberg Museum, well known throughout the world for its fantastic collection of both print and fine printing works was created by the great master, Johannes Gutenberg. In the 15th century he was the first European to print with hand-set type cast using molds and his presses soon made Mainz the focus for printing in Europe. The museum also has one of the last remaining copies of the original Bible printed during the mid-1400s. Visitors are able to have a ‘hands on’ experience by creating and printing their own ‘masterpiece’ of little messages using the exact same methods as Gutenberg. They can then keep these as souvenirs of their visit to the birthplace of Gutenberg’s printing works.
Other museums to visit are the Landsmuseum of Rheinland-Pfalz, easily recognized at the entrance by a statue of a golden stallion. Included in the exhibits are artifacts ranging from the middle ages to the 20th century, Dutch master paintings, and baroque to art nouveau artwork, as well as collections of fine porcelain.
For those interested in ships, then a visit to the Museum fur Antike Schiffahrt (Ancient Shipbuilding) is a must, where you can watch how restoration work was carried out on ancient vessels from various periods that have been discovered over the years.
With Mainz situated on the Rhine and having some of Germany’s most beautiful countryside surrounding the city and an excellent summer climate, it has become a popular point for cyclists and hikers to start their journey into the surrounding areas. In Mainz and Rhine-Hesse, there are lots of cycle tracks including the ‘Romans’ Route’ through Mainz which is 13 km long.
For children there are plenty of open spaces to let off steam or play in various adventure parks and water playgrounds. There are numerous parks and green spaces where you can play sport or perhaps have a barbecue. Another attraction is the Children’s Railway in the Volkspark. But, no matter where you decide to spend your time in the open air, you will not be disappointed as you will find relaxation and peace while breathing in the clean, clear air of Mainz.
For something more quiet, then perhaps a stroll along the banks of the Rhine, the Rose Garden or the City Park.
Beach lovers will love Mainz for its fine sandy beaches where you can stretch out on deck chairs, play beach volleyball and other water sports on offer. For refreshments you will find many sausage bars and beach bars along the beaches.
Shopping in Mainz
Mainz is a shoppers’ paradise and the main shopping area is situated right in the center of the town. This is a pedestrian zone and leads from the Rathau Bridge to the center.
The old Roman passages including about 300 square meters of the Temple of Isis ruins which were discovered while excavating the site, have now been incorporated into the large modern shopping center called Roemerpassage. This building further enhances the shopping and dining experience in this city.
Also in the old part of town, you will find literally hundreds of small, unique shops hidden amongst the alleyways, courtyards and the narrow streets of this medieval part of town. Here you will also discover a vast array of high quality art and craftworks, delicatessens, wine sellers and much, much more for sale at competitive prices.
Every Saturday, the Mainz Market takes place in the heart of the city next to the cathedral. Here you will find farmers selling their fresh local produce and stall holders selling various foods, fish, cheeses, spices, herbs and many other specialties.
Eating Out in Mainz
With so many festivals going on throughout the year it’s no wonder that the locals are very jovial and hospitable people. They love to eat, drink and be merry, and will make a visitor to Mainz feel very welcome and to get them to join in their evening of jollity and fun. From their traditional wine bars to the German taverns, pubs and casual restaurants you will find good wholesome and hearty meals on the menus and washed down with an excellent choice of regional wines and beer.
For a more intimate evening ,there are many elegant restaurants in the city such as the Brasserie in the Mainz Hilton Centre or perhaps a meal in the House of German Wines.
Otherwise for something culturally different, there are numerous informal eating places with a complete mix of ethnic food ranging from Turkish, Indonesian, Spanish, Serbo-Croatian-Slovenian, Greek, Thai, Chinese and Japanese sushi and of course, the ever popular Italian restaurants. No matter what your taste, you will find that Mainz has it all when it comes to food.
Nightlife in Mainz
As Mainz is a university city, it goes without saying that the nightlife in the city is vibrant and comes alive in the evenings with its many nightclubs, singing, dancing and drinking.
On a cultural side, the Staatstheater Mainz holds many performances of ballet, opera, drama and musicals as well performing many contemporary works. The theatre was completely modernized about ten years ago with the installation of the most modern technical equipment and comfortable seating. There is also a fine dining restaurant and many other amenities and public spaces.
Of Local Interest in Mainz
Mainz has an abundance of festivals and events held throughout the year, and in fact there are sometimes over forty festivals, etc. on in a given year and is actually a ‘never ending’ party!
In July, there is the midsummer festival known as ‘Johannisnacht’ in remembrance of Johannes Gutenberg. This is held during the largest fair on the Rhine and is the climax of the festival season in Mainz.
The annual Wine Market takes place in the Rosengarten and Volkspark during the last weekend in August and first weekend in September. Here a variety of white wines and rosé wines from the previous year are offered for sale along with some vintage reds.
Then, December is the time of the Mainz Christmas Fair. This traditional fair goes back to the time of the French Revolution and is a huge draw card for the thousands of visitors worldwide who descend on the city to take part in the celebrations of the brightly illuminated and magical scene which is set against the imposing medieval St Martin Cathedral in the market square. The various scents of gingerbread and spices all mingling together in the crisp winter night air make this a festive experience never to be forgotten. You will find river cruises are extremely full at this time of the year as many cruise boats stop off in Mainz for the visit to the Christmas Fair.
Wirecard : How Jan Marsalek Friend Henry O’Sullivan became “Corinna Müller”
The Briton Henry O’Sullivan is regarded as the dazzling puller of many Wirecard deals and friend of Jan Marsalek and internal emails show how big his influence was in the company.
Henry O’Sullivan celebrated his 40th birthday in paradise. He invited lawyers, managers and high-ranking executives from Wirecard to the lonely dream island of Benguerra off the coast of the East African state of Mozambique. Board member Jan Marsalek and his girlfriend should also come.
As a souvenir, the host wanted: pens for the school children in town and champagne for the party weekend.
The luxury resort Azura Retreats, which O’Sullivan rented in November 2014, had cabins right on the beach, palm trees, and a beach. On arrival, the guests would have to wade through knee-deep water as the British businessman’s assistant warned a month before the celebration. That wasn’t a problem for Jan Marsalek. He preferred to travel by helicopter anyway, according to an email from his secretary.
The extravagant birthday plans reveal a lot about two of the central key figures in the Wirecard scandal. Jan Marsalek (40) and Henry O’Sullivan (46) are close confidants who worked together on big deals far away from the headquarters in Aschheim. Now the judiciary is asking whether millions have been diverted. Wirecard is insolvent and Marsalek is on the run.
O’Sullivan does not answer inquiries. At the beginning of 2020, he only wanted to talk to the examiners from KMPG and EY under certain conditions but then he was no longer available to them.
The beefy Brit was known for his dissolute lifestyle. In Singapore he often dined in a top restaurant on the roof of the Marina Bay Sands hotel, with a view over the harbor. To save time on business trips, he preferred to travel short distances by helicopter instead of taxi and in the meantime he lived on a yacht in Monaco.
Marsalek had O’Sullivan flown in in 2014 to celebrate with him at the Munich Oktoberfest. A year later they flew through South Africa in the Learjet 45XR. And when the Briton wanted to meet the Wirecard executive board in Jakarta in 2014, he asked an Indonesian employee by email about a hotel that would tolerate the “type of spring break business trips”.
Beyond its luxury life, only fragments of O’Sullivan’s businesses are known. The Briton did not hold an official position at Wirecard. Many consider him a “phantom” in the background, a member of the mysterious clique around Marsalek.
It was stored in the Wirecard address book with an external e-mail address for freelancers – his profile photo showed Pablo Escobar, the Colombian drug lord: another bad joke by Jan Marsalek, as insiders suspect.
As much as O’Sullivan was on business trips, he was always careful to be discreet. This is also shown by an episode from spring 2020, when the Wirecard world was already falling apart and auditors examined the opaque third-party business for which Marsalek was responsible.
O’Sullivan was very knowledgeable about third party business and a strange company purchase in India in 2015. He was therefore a sought-after discussion partner for the annual auditors from EY and the special auditors from KPMG. O’Sullivan apparently managed to convince the supervisory board of a special protective measure.
A sought-after discussion partner for EY and KPMG
O’Sullivan demanded at the end of April or beginning of March 2016 that his name should not be recorded in the “final report” or in any other correspondence with Wirecard. “These papers have a habit of appearing in public,” he wrote to an assistant at Marsalek. He assumes that “everything that is written will ultimately be read by others” and he therefore insists on being given a pseudonym.
This is how Mr. O’Sullivan became Mrs. Müller. On March 4, a legal advisor to the Supervisory Board wrote to Wirecard management: “As discussed yesterday, a code name should be used for all further e-mails and other references. Proposal: ‘Ms. Corinna Müller’. ”On the same day, EY agreed not to use the name in communication with Wirecard international.
According to supervisory board circles, however, it was clear: There should be no special treatment in the confidential internal audit report, and O’Sullivan’s real name would have been mentioned here.
But it did not get to that. According to the “Wall Street Journal”, the special auditor KPMG was cross: O’Sullivan had also made the condition of their auditors anonymous. When they refused, he refused to speak.
He could tell so much in the process. In the ten years before the bankruptcy alone, Wirecard acquired companies for 1.2 billion euros, according to insolvency administrator Michael Jaffé. In his report, Jaffé writes that the deals were one reason for the “enormous consumption of liquidity in recent years”. The public prosecutor is investigating former executives on suspicion of fraud and breach of trust.
O’Sullivan was involved in numerous Wirecard deals. His name is linked to one of the largest and most dubious deals the payment service provider has done in recent years: the takeover of the Indian Hermes group in 2015. Wirecard bought the companies from the Mauritius-registered fund Emerging Markets Investment Fund 1A (EMIF 1A) for 326 million euros. The amazing thing: the fund had only acquired the same company and assets a few months earlier for around 35 million euros and it is still not clear who was behind that deal
Marsalek stated in an interview with Handelsblatt at the beginning of 2020 that he had not checked the background. But insiders report that O’Sullivan and Marsalek were the ones who planned the deal and who ultimately benefited from it. In any case, the original Hermes sellers now feel cheated. They filed a lawsuit that revealed that it was O’Sullivan who negotiated the sale to the EMIF 1A fund for € 35 million.
The central figure in Senjo was also O’Sullivan, even if he did not hold an official position. A PR consultant for the British company stated in 2019 that her client worked for Senjo. That’s only half the story. In practice, O’Sullivan is said to have been the one in charge of Senjo. In Singapore, the authorities are now investigating for falsification of accounts in the vicinity of the group of companies.
How hard Marsalek worked internally at Wirecard for his party friend O’Sullivan is shown by a short-term lending business from 2016, which several Wirecard board members dealt with. Ascheimer Wirecard Bank AG granted Cottisford Holdings Ltd, a generous credit line of ten million euros from O’Sullivan, for which Wirecard AG guaranteed as internal emails and documents prove this.
“Today the supervisory board formally approved the loan retrospectively, but was not ‘amused’ about it,” wrote the then board member Rainer Wexeler of Wirecard Bank AG on March 2, 2016 to Marsalek. He complained that the panel had been poorly informed. Wexeler asked: “Can you please give me the private address of O’Sullivan and some key business data about his business, his connection to Wirecard AG, etc.?”
Wirecard Scandal claims another Victim – Heike Pauls from Commerzbank
It’s not even eight months since Germany’s number one payment service provider imploded: Wirecard had to admit in June 2020 that billions of euros never existed on the balance sheet. As a result, board members had to go to jail or disappeared without a trace. Since then, auditors have been distrusted, and the head of the BaFin supervisory authority has to look for a new job. The youngest victim is Heike Pauls of the German Commerzbank.
Up until a few weeks before the Wirecard scandal burst, several analysts in various banks believed in Wirecard. They unshakably believed that the annual financial statements for 2019, which had been postponed several times, would end well, some experts continued to insist on Wirecard price targets of 180 to 240 euros.
One of the bravest supporters of the scandal group was Heike Pauls from Commerzbank. The analyst was always loyal to Wirecard: She dismissed critical reports about the payment processor as false reports and even a few weeks before the collapse she issued a buy recommendation with a price target of 230 euros for the Wirecard share.
As the Spiegel reported, Pauls had in the meantime also provided the management of the payment processor with sensitive information that it had collected specifically on the capital market. In January Commerzbank had already restructured the research department and relieved the analyst of her duties, now the announcement was made:
“Commerzbank has terminated the employment relationship.”
The Wirecard scandal is far from being dealt with. Further personnel consequences in various economic areas could follow. Extensive claims for damages by investors against the insolvent payment service provider are also examined and the the Wirecard share remains taboo for any investors.
Wirecard Committee – Doubts about Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg’s Credibility
Didn’t Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg tell the whole truth when he appeared as a witness on the Wirecard investigative committee? Internal documents that are available to the ARD studio fuel the suspicion. The SPD accuses him of having lied to the committee and in the opposition too, doubts about its credibility are growing.
In December Guttenberg was asked about his role in the Wirecard scandal in the Bundestag. It was also about an article that the former CSU minister published in the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” at the end of March 2020. The topic: The role of short sales in the Corona crisis. At the time, Wirecard was targeted by shortsellers, i.e. stock exchange traders who bet on falling prices for a company and Guttenberg had argued against such short sales in the article.
Mail to ex-Wirecard boss Markus Braun
Guttenberg apparently did not want to draw a direct connection to his work for Wirecard, but there are doubts about this representation.
An email to the then Wirecard boss Markus Braun, however, indicates that Guttenberg could very well have had the now insolvent DAX group in mind when he wrote the text for the FAZ.
In this email of March 20, 2020, the Managing Director of the communications company Edelman, Rüdiger Assion, proposed a “Short Selling Action Plan” to the Wirecard boss. Among other things, this contained the suggestion that Guttenberg could write a guest commentary on the subject of short sales in the newspapers FAZ or “Die Welt”. An argumentation paper with key messages is also attached to the mail. Just six days later, exactly such a guest comment appears in the FAZ. Guttenberg’s argumentation shows clear similarities with the line proposed in the argumentation paper.
SPD speaks of a lie
The SPD chairman in the Wirecard committee, Zimmermann, therefore accuses Guttenberg of not telling the truth on the witness stand. Zimmermann told the ARD city studio: “He (Guttenberg’s note by the editor) lied to the investigative committee and tried to set the wrong track when he denied arguing for a ban on short sales in the interests of Wirecard. A real surprise is this lack of honesty not with him. ” Now it must be clarified whether Guttenberg deliberately wanted to mislead the investigative committee.
CDU defends Guttenberg
Guttenberg is defended by the CDU. The MP Matthias Hauer said that the SPD should primarily devote itself to the question of why the BaFin, supervised by Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, imposed the short sale ban on Wirecard. “This should certainly contribute more to the explanation of Wirecard than an article in the name of an ex-politician on the subject in the FAZ.”
But doubts about Guttenberg’s credibility are also growing among the opposition. The chairman of the Greens, Danyal Bayaz, said that Guttenberg’s remarks on his opinion contribution had already been implausible in the committee of inquiry. “Apparently it was part of the advisory service to specifically win over public opinion for a renewed ban on short selling.” That does not cast a good light on Guttenberg’s honesty.
The Linke chairman in the committee, Fabio de Masi, can imagine summoning the former Federal Minister again: “If Mr. Guttenberg was Baron Münchhausen and had said the untruth in front of the committee of inquiry, this would also be criminally relevant, (…) the question is then whether his other statements that he had met the Chancellor privately are also untrue. “
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