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Germany

Accounting Scandal Could Cost German FDP Party Millions

Germany's free market liberal party, the FDP, may have to repay millions of euros in fines to the government as the result of an accounting scandal, German media reported over the weekend.

Former FDP leader Juergen Moellemann

The irregularities occurred under Juergen Moellemann's leadership

The FDP falsely accounted for some 1.66 million euros ($2.55 million) in donations between 1996 and 2000, as well as in 2002, according to reports in German news weekly, Focus. The daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung also reported that, under the leadership of Juergen Moellemann, the FDP was guilty of serious offenses against party laws, including hiding large donations in the form of several smaller donations under fake names.

According to media reports, the federal treasury will seek to recoup three times the amount in fines amounting to some 5 million euros.

In addition, parliamentary auditors have called into question the FDP's entire statement of accounts from 2000. As a result, the party may have to pay back all the funds granted by the party financing system based on that year's statement -- some 7.24 million euros.

Disgraced FDP leader Moellemann died in a parachuting accident in 2003, just as he was being investigated for fraud and tax evasion. Police speculated at the time that his death was likely a suicide.

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