German ex-president offered settlement deal | News | DW | 16.03.2013
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German ex-president offered settlement deal

German prosecutors may stop a year-long corruption probe against the country's former president Christian Wulff, if he accepts an out of court settlement, local media reported Saturday.

Spiegel Online and major daily newspaper the Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung reported, without disclosing sources, that the prosecution lacked strong evidence against the ex-president.

It is alleged Wulff received favors from rich friends, including luxury hotel stays from film producer David Groenewold, whom he helped by lobbying for cinema project grants.

The case against him centers around full or partial payments Groenewold made at three expensive hotels in 2007 and 2008, on the northern German island of Sylt and the southern city of Munich.

Wulff has publically denied the allegations made against him.

The case is part of a wider political corruption probe involving Wulff, including a discounted home loan he accepted from the partner of a wealthy business friend.

State prosecutors in Lower Saxony launched an investigation into the allegations in February 2012, but declined to comment to news agency dpa on Saturday regarding the case, or if any offer had been made to Wulff or Groenewold to settle out of court.

However, Speigel Online reported that Hanover prosecutors on Friday offered Wulff and Groenewold the opportunity to settle and accept a fine of up to 50,000 euros ($65,000).

The two men, Spiegel online said, have until the beginning of April to decide whether they will accept the settlement terms.

German law allows cases that are in the public interest, but are not especially severe, to be settled out of court, although a person is not legally cleared of any wrong-doing.

Wulff resigned his largely ceremonial position as head of state on February 17 last year, after the allegations against him came to light.

jlw/jr (dpa, AFPD)

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