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Germany

Former Deutsche Telekom bosses get off scot-free on data abuse charges

German prosecutors have closed the investigation into two former Deutsche Telekom managers over alleged monitoring of telephone records to trace media leaks.

Klaus Zumwinkel

Klaus Zumwinkel will not face data protection charges

Prosecutors in Bonn on Monday said there was insufficient evidence of any wrongdoing as they closed cases against ex-CEO Kai-Uwe Ricke and former supervisory board chief Klaus Zumwinkel.

Zumwinkel welcomed the closing of the probe, which he said came to the conclusion that "any penal accusation against me is unfounded."

"I regard this as a pleasant clarification, as a first-class termination of proceedings," Zumwinkel, who has denied any involvement in the spying, declared in Bonn. "It could not be better."

The investigation was launched two years ago after Deutsche Telekom acknowledged that there were cases of misuse of call records in 2005 and 2006.

Germany's journalists' association DJV criticized the outcome of the probe.

"It is hard to imagine that the former Telekom chiefs allegedly knew nothing about criminal interference into the freedom of the press," DJV chairman Michael Konken said.

Eavesdropping scandal

Deutsche Telekom AG was found to have monitored telephone records by senior executives and journalists to track possible information leaks to media in a violation of data protection laws - and released a storm of public outrage.

The Bonn prosecutors said on Monday they were bringing charges against three Telekom employees, including a leading security official.

The company has stressed that there is no suggestion that calls were tapped, but rather that call records detailing the time, participants and duration of calls were improperly monitored.

Author: Dagmar Breitenbach (dpa/AP)
Editor: Michael Lawton

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