Germany probes university professors over corruption charges | Germany | News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 22.08.2009

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Germany probes university professors over corruption charges

Prosecutors say they are investigating 100 professors across Germany on suspicion they took bribes to help students obtain doctorates.

picture of academic headwear

The value of education is not the same as its price

Cologne prosecutors' spokesman Guenther Feld confirmed on Saturday a report in German news magazine Focus that the professors were believed to have been paid through an intermediary firm.

"Supervising a thesis is a task that is part of a public service," Feld told the Neue Westfaelische regional newspaper. "Accepting a payment for it is unacceptable."

Focus reported that the professors from a dozen German universities took payments of between 4,000 and 20,000 euros ($5,700 and $28,600) to grant doctorates to students.

The price of success

The magazine said the investigation was launched after the offices of the private Institute for Scientific Counseling at Bergisch-Gladbach near Cologne were searched in March.

The institute reportedly acted as a facilitator between the students and the academics.

The head of the institute was sentenced to three and a half years in prison early last year for acting as an intermediary in the case of a Hanover law professor who helped students obtain a degree in exchange for financial or sexual favors.

The professor at Hannover University was found guilty of taking bribes worth 184,000 euros ($264,000) through the Institute, and organizing degrees for 61 students whose exam results weren't up to scratch. He was sentenced to three years in prison.

Editor: Toma Tasovac

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