German Press Review: CDU′s Bad Accounting | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 17.09.2004
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German Press Review: CDU's Bad Accounting

German editorials Friday focused on the Christian Democrats’ funding affair. The country’s highest court rejected an appeal by the CDU against a €21 million ($25.5 million) fine for breaching party funding rules.

The party will have to pay a lot of money, and that could be a problem, remarked the Märkische Allgemeine. "Anything else besides upholding the fine would have been a mockery," the paper continued. During the case, the CDU argued that old party statutes spoke solely of timely issuing of account statements and didn't mention completeness or accuracy. "If they’d made it through on that argument, party official Friedrich Merz’s beer coaster would probably be good enough to pass as a tax declaration," the daily criticized.

Other papers thought the consequences could have been much more drastic. If the Christian Democrats' arguments managed to be successful, it would have thrown doubt over Germany's entire legal process, the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger observed.

"The 16th of September will go down in history as a black day for black accounts," Würzburg’s Main Post commented. "The court decided that the CDU has to pay back everything that was acquired illegally, just like any small criminal money-laundering circle. This hurts the party, and so it should."

The Stuttgarter Nachrichten made fun of the statement issued by the party that the ruling puts them in an "extremely difficult situation." The paper estimated that the CDU would be able to absorb the blow. " The party has the experience when it comes to winning the financial support of someone who can bail them out," the paper concluded. "It’s not the first financial scandal that the CDU has had to deal with."

The Mannheimer Morgen echoed that opinion and recommended the CDU keep its mouth shut and not complain about the ruling, "considering it doesn't have the most impeccable record regarding illegal funds."

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