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Nach Havarie mit Toten: Ärmelkanal-Schleuser kam aus Deutschland

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Nach Havarie mit Toten

Ärmelkanal-Schleuser kam aus Deutschland

Nach dem tragischen Unglück im Ärmelkanal mit mindestens 27 Toten werden erste Details zu den festgenommenen Schleusern bekannt. Frankreich und Großbritannien wollen nun kooperieren, um Menschenschmugglern schneller das Handwerk zu legen.

Ein nach dem Untergang eines Migrantenbootes im Ärmelkanal in der Nacht festgenommener mutmaßlicher Schleuser kam aus Deutschland. “Der Schleuser, den wir heute Nacht festgenommen haben, hatte deutsche Kennzeichen”, sagte Frankreichs Innenminister Gérald Darmanin dem Sender RTL. “Er hat diese Schlauchboote in Deutschland gekauft.” Generell stammten etliche der von Schleusern an der Kanalküste eingesetzten Boote aus der Bundesrepublik. “Die Schleuser kaufen diese Schlauchboote in Deutschland mit Bargeld.”

Bei der Havarie des Bootes, das sich auf dem Weg nach Großbritannien befand, kamen am Mittwoch nach einer vorläufigen Bilanz 27 Menschen ums Leben. Noch am Abend wurden vier mutmaßlich beteiligte Schleuser festgenommen, ein fünfter dann in der Nacht, wie Darmanin sagte. Erst vor einer Woche hatte die niederländische Polizei einen aus Deutschland kommenden mutmaßlichen Schleuser auf der Autobahn Richtung Frankreich gestoppt.

Nach dem Untergang des Migrantenbootes hatten Frankreichs Präsident Emmanuel Macron und der britische Premierminister Boris Johnson über Schritte zur Verhinderung weiterer solcher Dramen beraten. Beide hätten sich auf verstärkte Anstrengungen verständigt, Schleuserbanden zu stoppen, die das Leben von Menschen in Gefahr bringen, teilte die britische Seite nach dem Telefonat am späten Mittwochabend mit.

Zugleich betonten Macron und Johnson die Bedeutung einer engen Zusammenarbeit mit Belgien, den Niederlanden und anderen Partnern auf dem Kontinent. Macron äußerte nach Angaben des Elysée-Palastes in Paris die Erwartung, dass die Briten zur Zusammenarbeit bereit seien und das Flüchtlingsdrama nicht zu politischen Zwecken instrumentalisierten. Es müsse in einem Geist der Kooperation und unter Achtung der Menschenwürde gehandelt werden.



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Straftaten aufgedeckt: Die Schweiz macht deutschem Anwalt den Prozess

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Straftaten aufgedeckt

Die Schweiz macht deutschem Anwalt den Prozess

Mit Steuerhinterziehung gehen Deutschland und die Schweiz völlig anders um. Das bekommt ein deutscher Anwalt zu spüren. Die Schweizer Staatsanwaltschaft will ihn ins Gefängnis stecken.

In Deutschland wird der Stuttgarter Anwalt Eckart Seith als Aufklärer in einem der größten Steuerbetrugsskandale mit sogenannten Cum-Ex-Geschäften gefeiert. In der Schweiz wird er wegen Wirtschaftsspionage verfolgt. Weil sich Seith interne Dokumente der in Cum-Ex-Geschäfte verwickelten Schweizer Bank J. Safra Sarasin besorgte und an deutsche Ermittler weitergab, wird ihm “wirtschaftlicher Nachrichtendienst” vorgeworfen. Ab heute wird Seith in einem Berufungsverfahren vor dem Obergericht in Zürich der Prozess gemacht. Ihm droht eine mehrjährige Haftstrafe.

Seith wurde 2019 zwar vom Vorwurf der Wirtschaftsspionage freigesprochen, das Gericht verurteilte ihn aber wegen eines Randaspekts zu einer Geldstrafe auf Bewährung. Sowohl die Staatsanwaltschaft als auch Seith gingen in Berufung, sodass das Verfahren jetzt neu aufgerollt wird.

“Wir sind mit einem der größten Wirtschaftsverbrechen der europäischen Nachkriegszeit konfrontiert”, sagt Seith der dpa. “Und die Schweizer Justiz bekämpft die Aufklärung mit der ganzen Härte ihres Strafrechts. Da läuft etwas schief.” Die Zürcher Staatsanwaltschaft habe sich “zum Patron der organisierten Kriminalität” gemacht. Seith hatte mit den Sarasin-Dokumenten bei einem Prozess in Ulm für einen Klienten, der mit Cum-Ex-Geschäften viel Geld verlor, erfolgreich Schadenersatz erstritten.

Deutschland und die Schweiz liegen seit langem in der Frage über Kreuz, welche Ermittlungsmethoden zur Aufdeckung von Steuerdelikten erlaubt sind. Vor rund 15 Jahren sorgte der Ankauf von Steuer-CDs mit Kundendaten, die Schwarzgeldkonten von Deutschen in der Schweiz belegten, für schwere diplomatische Verstimmungen. Unter anderem klagte die Schweiz deutsche Steuerfahnder an. In Deutschland wurde später ein Schweizer wegen Spionage bei Steuerbehörden festgenommen. Für die Bundesrepublik war der Ankauf der CDs ein Beitrag zur Aufklärung von Straftaten, für die Schweiz Wirtschaftsspionage. Bis heute stößt dort ein Ausspruch des damaligen Bundesfinanzministers Peer Steinbrück auf Empörung. Er drohte 2009, “die Kavallerie” ausreiten zu lassen, weil die Schweiz ein gewünschtes Steuerabkommen nicht wollte.

“Muss jeder gewusst haben”

Worum geht es beim Cum-Ex-Skandal? Mehrere Banken prellten die deutschen und andere europäische Steuerbehörden seit Beginn des Jahrtausends mit dubiosen Aktienverschiebungen um Milliardenbeträge. Sie verkauften Finanzprodukte mit dem Versprechen von Traumrenditen. Die Banken schoben rund um den Dividendentag Aktien mit (“cum”) und ohne (“ex”) Ausschüttungsanspruch hin und her. Am Ende war dem Fiskus nicht klar, wem sie gehörten. Die Folge: Nur einmal gezahlte Kapitalertragsteuern wurden mehrfach erstattet. Für Wirtschaftsprofessor Christoph Spengel von der Universität Mannheim handelte es sich dabei nicht um ein Steuerschlupfloch. “Das muss jeder gewusst haben, dass das nicht sein kann”, sagte er dem Schweizer Sender SRF.

Deutsche Gerichte sind seit Jahren mit den Geschäften beschäftigt. Im Juli stellte der Bundesgerichtshof in einem wegweisenden Urteil fest, dass sie als Steuerhinterziehung zu bewerten und damit strafbar sind. Unter anderem wurden in Bonn schon zwei Ex-Börsenhändler wegen Steuerhinterziehung beziehungsweise Beihilfe zu Haftstrafen auf Bewährung verurteilt. Weitere Prozesse laufen.

In der Schweiz wird dagegen weder gegen die Bank Sarasin noch andere Banken ermittelt. In dem Prozess erster Instanz gegen Seith wurde das Institut von der Anklage als Spionageopfer dargestellt. Die Bank äußert sich nicht, ist aber auch nicht an dem Verfahren beteiligt. “Wenn man ganze Lügengebäude auftischt und den Fiskus dazu bringt, Rückerstattungen zu machen, wenn man gar keinen Anspruch hat, ist das auch aus Schweizer Sicht strafbar”, sagte der Anwalt und Experte für Finanzmarktregulierung, Alex Geissbühler, dem SRF.

Ein weiterer Cum-Ex-Fall beschäftigt deutsche und Schweizer Gerichte. Dabei geht es um den deutschen Anwalt Hanno Berger, der vor Jahren in die Schweiz ging und als Schlüsselfigur in dem Skandal gilt. Deutsche Gerichte wollen ihm den Prozess machen. Berger sitzt in Auslieferungshaft, wehrt sich aber gegen die Überstellung nach Deutschland. Sein Argument, die ihm in Deutschland vorgeworfenen Taten seien in der Schweiz nicht strafbar gewesen, hat das Bundesstrafgericht schon verworfen. Das Verfahren läuft aber noch.



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Capri Holdings Foundation Sets Scholarship Program – WWD

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The Capri Holdings Foundation for the Advancement of Diversity in Fashion, established in February by Capri Holdings Ltd., has disclosed a broad scholarship program in partnership with the Fashion Institute of Technology, Howard University, Pensole Academy and Central Saint Martins – University of Arts London.

Over the next four years, the foundation will fund scholarships for close to 100 students from historically underrepresented and racially diverse communities who are pursuing degrees in fashion and merchandising at these institutions.

The initiative is part of Capri’s $20 million pledge to advance equality and promote long-term change in the fashion industry. During the multiyear partnership, in addition to covering tuition, room and board, the scholarships will fund internship-related expenses for students obtaining internships within the fashion industry.

Capri, whose brands are Michael Kors, Jimmy Choo and Versace, said it is committed to furthering workforce diversity by working collaboratively with colleges and high schools to create opportunities in fashion for individuals from a wide range of backgrounds. Through the development of on-campus recruitment, mentorship and scholarship programs, the foundation looks to position the next generation of talent and prepare students for careers in the fashion industry.

“Our brands are deeply committed to helping students of all backgrounds have greater educational opportunities and real-world experiences,” said John D. Idol, chairman and chief executive officer of Capri Holdings. “These scholarships aren’t just designed to ease students’ financial pressures, they are also part of a larger effort to help remove systemic roadblocks and increase opportunities for racially and ethnically diverse students within the fashion industry.”

Joyce F. Brown, president of FIT, praised “the power of education and opportunities for career development and advancement as the life cycle changes that will transform the lives” of under-represented youth. “We are deeply grateful to Capri for recognizing FIT’s focus on these very issues and their generous support.”

Phylicia Rashad, dean of the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts at Howard University in Washington, D.C., thanked Capri for the opportunity that is being afforded Howard University students.

“The fashion design program was initiated in the fall of 2011 with the goal of preparing the next generation of artist-scholars and designers for careers in fashion design and related industries. While our interdisciplinary program focuses specifically on critical elements of forecasting, production, evaluation, branding and sustainability of textiles, apparel and home furnishings in a global marketplace, we are committed to nurturing socially conscious leaders who can visually and verbally articulate their ideas and compete locally, nationally and globally. Without a doubt, our partners are essential in our efforts to meet the needs of the students as well as industry demands,” said Rashad.

D’Wayne Edwards, founder of Pensole Academy in Portland, Ore., said: “I am truly humbled that the Capri Holdings Foundation believes in our vision to diversify the industry by making it more accessible for those who may have never imagined that they could pursue design as a career. This partnership will inspire thousands of consumers to become creators and will bring forth future leaders that will redefine our industry.”

“We are incredibly grateful to the Capri Holdings Foundation for developing a scholarship program that will support the next generation of fashion leaders from underrepresented communities,” said Jeremy Till, head of Central Saint Martins and Pro-Vice Chancellor of University of the Arts London. “The support will open up opportunities for talented students from diverse backgrounds who might otherwise not be able to engage fully with an education in fashion. This generous gift from the Capri Holdings Foundation will sustain and engage students throughout the full duration of their study, and I look forward to seeing how these promising individuals develop during their time at Central Saint Martins and beyond.”

 

FOR MORE STORIES:  

Capri Holdings Establishes Foundation for Advancement of Diversity in Fashion

Joshua Schulman Named CEO of Michael Kors Brand, Will Succeed John Idol in September 2022 as CEO of Capri Holdings

Capri Holdings Boosts Outlook as Profits Top Estimates

When It Comes to Diversity in Fashion, There’s Lots of Work to Be Done

 





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Is ‘Vegan’ Leather Worse for the Environment Than Real Leather? – WWD

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Given the outsized greenhouse gas emissions, the chemical toxins in processing or the ethical concerns with industrial agriculture as it relates to leather production, cruelty-free leather alternatives, today dubbed “vegan leather” are rising in appeal.

What Exactly Is Vegan Leather?

Vegan, as an adjective means “eating, using, or containing no food or other products derived from animals,” per Oxford Dictionary, thus vegan leather is that which bypasses animal origins and mimics the aesthetics and feel of leather — right?

“Vegan leather has come to define a wide range of materials. It’s more of a category than one specific product or method,” Joshua Katcher, author and Collective Fashion Justice board member, told WWD. Drawing reference to his book, “Fashion Animals” (2019), he said “as early as the 1800s there were ads in London magazines advertising imitation leather as ‘substitutes for humanitarians’ [that were] ‘made entirely of vegetable matter.’”

By his book, Katcher said vegan leather typically refers to something that “has the look, feel and performance of tanned animal skins for use in footwear, belts, bags and other typical leather goods,” including anything from polyurethane microfiber suede, mycelium (mushroom root) sheets, leather grown from skin cells, coffee grounds, cactus, pineapple, embossed cork (to mimic reptile skin) and so on.

“These technologies are gaining momentum, sophistication and scale and I imagine that in the next five to 10 years there will be entirely biodegradable, plant-based and cell-based leathers that will outperform conventional animal skins in every category including sustainability, performance and customization,” he added.

Like other sustainability gray areas, vegan leather doesn’t have a clear-cut definition save for necessary trade disclosure as “imitation leather products,” as is the case within the U.S.

How Vegan Leather Stacks Up

Whatever you choose to call it, vegan leather has been around for a while with many varieties, at that. To evaluate how vegan leather stacks up, it’s important to take stock of the existing variations and those coming to market and the nuances therein.

First, there’s pleather — and then there’s everything else.

“The vast majority of ‘vegan’ materials are plastic-based, even when they say they are plant-based because of the binder in use,” said Steven D. Lange, director of the Leather Research Laboratory at the University of Cincinnati. “Only materials that are sourced from the hide or skin of an animal should be called leather.”

Today, the market is consumed by pleather which often slaps plastic uppers like polyurethane or polyvinyl chloride (which contains dangerous chemical additives like chlorine, phthalates and lead) onto oil-derived nylon, acrylic or polyester textile backings. Plant fibers (from apple, pineapple and cactus but not altogether free of plastic) and cell-cultured leather (increasingly mycelium root which, again, may not be scourged of plastic) are becoming popular as consumer awareness grows.

It’s a case of brand names galore when it comes to the pursuit of next-gen leather alternatives.

On the fruity side, Vegea employs wine grape waste, Desserto boasts cactus fiber origins and Piñatex is made from agricultural pineapple waste. Each is vegan and rejects the toxic chemicals used in conventional leather processing but sustainability indicators differ depending on what tests and certifications have been pursued as well as the present scale.

Early life cycle assessments from Desserto have shown its cactus leather has a 500 percent lower eutrophication impact (or the over-enrichment of nutrients in habitats) compared to animal leather, and 10 percent lower than synthetic leather. With millions of tonnes of agricultural waste from the global pineapple and wine industries each year, companies like Vegea Srl and Piñatex-maker Ananas Anam aim to take a stab at waste with a cost-effective textile.

However, it’s not all rosy yet.

When stacked up to leather, some studies, like that of the Filk Freiberg Institute, found the materials came up short to leather’s universal performance (meaning you could end up replacing vegan leather garments more frequently) and even uncovered a number of trace restricted substances including butanone oxime (used in paints and potentially carcinogenic).

Then there’s mycelium root. In plain speak, “mushroom leather,” or mycelium leather that is grown to shape and mimics animal hide in hand without the cruelty, is a cause for hope among conscious consumers.

Mylo is one buzzy entrant on the mycelium front being tapped by brands like Adidas and Lululemon to bring Mylo-based products to market in 2022. The material is grown and harvested in under two weeks by California-based biotech company Bolt Threads.

While not free of plastic and not biodegradable, Mylo is certified bio-based and nontoxic.

“On the Mylo side, the demand is clearly there for the consumer and for the brands looking to make good on their ESG mandates,” Dan Widmaier, founder and chief executive officer of Bolt Threads, said in an earlier interview with WWD. “We become very focused on a handful of materials. Everyone would use it today if I could give them enough today.”

The problem is mushroom leathers are still catching up to demand, but perhaps the lag time gives existing industries the opportunity to transition and innovate in line with the times.

Widmaier pointed to how companies like Dupont have evolved over time and stayed relevant, entering ag tech spaces. “I would hope that [existing industries are] part of the solution. There’s a lot of externalities that are driving this,” he said.

These leather externalities include the immense greenhouse gas emissions, water use and deforestation rates associated with cattle ranching.

“Bellroy is a brand that started with leather and we’ve done everything we can to try and make leather better, we’ve worked on animal welfare, we’ve worked on effluent sustainability…but we’re not wedded to leather,” Andy Fallshaw, CEO and head designer at leather goods start-up Bellroy, said in a press release explaining the brand’s departure from animal leather. “The reason we haven’t used synthetic leathers previously is that they come with this whole other bundle of problems,” particularly, related to petrochemical inputs.

On Wednesday, the brand released a leather-free mini sling bag teaming, again, with another promising mycelium alternative: Natural Fiber Welding’s “Mirum,” which is a welded 100 percent natural, plastic-free and certified BioPreferred plant-based leather alternative boasting investments from brands like Allbirds and Ralph Lauren Corp.

Mirum comes from a slurry of raw materials like cork, coconut, vegetable oil and natural rubber. The material is never coated in polyurethane or PVC, and is fully biodegradable with a 40 percent lower carbon impact than traditional leather, per the company’s assessments. In addition to having a low carbon footprint, Mirum requires no water during manufacturing and dyeing.

The move shows how brands — once very attached to leather — are considering alternatives.

Why It Matters

In the world of fashion, Stella McCartney, Adidas, Allbirds, Hermès, Gucci, H&M, Karl Lagerfeld, Reformation, Ralph Lauren and Fossil, among others, have dipped into the vegan leather field by way of investments or capsules.

In all, the global synthetic leather market was valued around $46.7 billion in 2020 and is projected to be worth $89.6 billion in the next five years, or a 48.1 percent increase over time, according to estimates from Bangalore-based tech solutions company Infinitum Global.

Next-gen leather alternatives seek to challenge the ethical concerns of leather and the plastic concerns of pleather. A June report from nonprofit The Material Innovation Initiative found next-gen vegan leather alternatives could command $2.2 billion in value a year by 2026 (although still minor in comparison to plastic’s prevalence).

According to a U.S. consumer study released in April from MII and consulting firm North Mountain Consulting Group, more than half of the 519 individuals surveyed preferred a “leather alternative,” defined as acrylic/polyester, plant fibers or cell-cultured.

The survey was part of a broader report that peered behind those vegan leather motivators. According to the report, the top three traits associated with alternative leather were that the materials are believed to be “good for animals,” “affordable” and “appealing.”

Like it or not, Emma Hakansson, founding director of Collective Fashion Justice, explained that “as people begin to realize the interconnected harms caused by animal-derived material supply chains — they are seeking alternatives” that value the planet, people and animals. With a series of proprietary reports, the advocacy organization is bent on exposing the social, environmental and animal exploitation in industries like leather, wool and fur.

The Transition to Vegan

While vegan leather still has some cleaning up to do, its category represents vast potential, especially for vegan-conscious consumers.

As more vegan-catered products and innovations flood the market, experts support asking questions on comparable material impact and performance, labor, scale and product end of life or biodegradability — and seeing which tradeoffs one can live with.

With millions of people employed around the world in leather goods and footwear, and billions of square feet of leather produced each year, there’s a significant environmental and human impact ripe for responsible retooling.





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