Politicians Call for Inquiry Into Osthoff Ransom Allegations | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 22.01.2006
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Politicians Call for Inquiry Into Osthoff Ransom Allegations

German politicians called for an investigation into the alleged payment of ransom for former hostage Susanne Osthoff. But authorities are dismissing speculation that she was involved in her own abduction.


In December, Germans held vigils demanding Osthoffs release

German security authorities do not believe that archeologist Susanne Osthoff, who was held hostage for three weeks in November and December, played any part in her own kidnapping, despite reports that some of the money was found on her after her release in Iraq..

"We have no proof for this speculation," one security official told the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

The online site of the newsmagazine Stern reports that investigators say there has been a "complete twisting of the facts." They say Osthoff explained several times the origins of the money that was in her possession upon her release.

German government officials have declined to comment on any payments they might have made to secure the release of Osthoff.

But according to a report in German magazine Focus, German embassy officials found wads with several thousand dollars in her clothes as Osthoff was taking a shower after her release.

Germany's federal criminal police (BKA) checked the bank notes registration numbers and found that they had been part of a ransom paid to Osthoff's captors, according to the report.

Außenminister Frank-Walter Steinmeier Susanne Osthoff

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier doesn't want to comment

German parliamentarians meanwhile called for an inquiry into the allegations.

"This story is packed with inconsistencies, which have to be cleared up," Wolfgang Bosbach, a deputy parliamentary leader for Germany's ruling Christian Democrats (CDU), told Die Welt newspaper.

Max Stadler, the domestic affairs spokesman for the opposition Free Democrats, also called for an immediate investigation.

"The public has a right to find out," he said.

Osthoff's brother, Robert, meanwhile said that his sister was being treated unfairly.

"If the find of money in my sister's clothes should turn out to be true, it's a sneaky intrigue and a fake," he said.

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