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Germany

Politicians to Pay Back Money From VW

Two German politicians have each been ordered to pay back more than 300,000 euros ($387,000) they received from carmaker Volkswagen, it was announced on Thursday. Hans-Hermann Wendhausen, a member of the regional parliament in the northern state of Lower Saxony, agreed to refund 422,954 euros and his parliamentary colleague Ingolf Viereck will pay back 343,519 euros. Both had received the payments from Volkswagen over a ten-year period, said the speaker of the Lower Saxony parliament, Jürgen Gansäuer. They will make the payments to the state parliament which will then decide what to do with the money. It is believed to be the first time German politicians have ever paid back money received from companies. The state laws of Lower Saxony allow politicians to receive additional income alongside their salaries as long as they are actually providing a service to a company. But the two politicians in this case were forced to refund the money because they were no longer working for Volkswagen when they received the payments. The practice of bankrolling politicians came to a head in December when the secretary general of the opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Laurenz Meyer, resigned after admitting he had received 59,320 euros ($78,500) from energy giant RWE.

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