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Thread: Another German President Going Down

  1. #16
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    Regarding the Wulff affair itself, the press has now unearthed that Wulff used to be a partner with the lawyer group who represented Geerkens in multiple cases, last time in 2004. Geerkens also provided the offices of this group until 2007. Wulff's contract as a freelancing partner of the group was only dissolved last year; the lawyer group claims that while Wulff's name was still on their letterhead Wulff didn't actively work with them since 1994.
    This is important because it's another tidbit Wulff omitted when questioned by the Lower Saxon State Parliament about past business relations with Geerkens.

    The case regarding the credit Wulff took out with bwBank after switching off of Geerken's private credit - and the favourable conditions Wulff received - will probably soon be taken up again for criminal proceedings. The Stuttgart district attorney office' closing of the case was answered with two separate formal complaints, so their superiors in the state judicial structure are currently deciding whether to reopen the case. In this case officials of bwBank are accused of misappropriation while Wulff is accused of (effectively) corruption.

  2. #17
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    When they going to raid the Greek offices?

  3. #18
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    When the Greeks tell us they never took any money from us.

  4. #19
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    Current SPON International articles on the topic in English:

    German President under Pressure: Prosecutors May Petition to Lift Wulff's Immunity - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

    German President under Pressure
    Prosecutors May Petition to Lift Wulff's Immunity
    FRANK OSSENBRINK

    The list of dubious dealings involving scandal-plagued German President Christian Wulff just keeps getting longer. But public prosecutors are hampered from investigating the allegations because of Wulff's immunity as head of state. Now they are considering the nuclear option: asking parliament to revoke his protection.
    [...]
    King of the Discounts: Why German President Wulff Should Quit - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

    King of the Discounts
    Why German President Wulff Should Quit
    A Commentary By Dirk Kurbjuweit

    Christian Wulff has demeaned himself and the office of head of state with his hunger for petty discounts, airline upgrades and free vacations with the rich and famous. Taken together, his transgressions reveal a man who isn't fit to be president. He should step down.
    [...]
    New Allegation Against President: Wulff Received Discount on Personal Car Lease - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

    New Allegation Against President
    Wulff Received Discount on Personal Car Lease
    By SPIEGEL Staff

    German President Christian Wulff, accused of using his public office for personal gain, is facing a new controversy. In 2010, when he was still a state governor, he received a discount on a Skoda SUV he leased. Critics say the head of state's behavior is undermining efforts to fight corruption.

  5. #20
    Global Moderator Defense Professional JAD_333's Avatar
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    This scandal seems like much ado over minor gratuities. It's not like he was emptying the treasury. Me thinks Germany is just jealous that it doesn't have as many scandals as the Brits and the US.
    To be Truly ignorant, Man requires an Education - Plato

  6. #21
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    It's about Wulff trying to declare war on the press. So they dig out everything they can find.

    The difference to the US or UK is that we don't really go into personal stuff. In the US one focus regarding Wulff would probably be that he left his wife and then 13-year-old daughter for a younger woman a couple years ago. Or that there are groups that consider - and call - Wulff a Christian fundamentalist.

  7. #22
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    The Hannover district attorney just filed for Wulff's immunity to be lifted in order to open with criminal proceedings.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by kato View Post
    The Hannover district attorney just filed for Wulff's immunity to be lifted in order to open with criminal proceedings.
    Hanover? Ain't the president in Berlin?

    Anyway, poor bugger. The next 20 presidents will remember not to mess with the press (it rhymes well)
    No such thing as a good tax - Churchill

    To make mistakes is human. To blame someone else for your mistake, is strategic.

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doktor View Post
    Hanover? Ain't the president in Berlin?
    The case is about stuff he pulled while still prime minister of Lower Saxony. Hence why the responsible district attorney is the one in the Lower Saxon state capital.

    The suspicion filed for is:
    §331 StGB Vorteilsannahme - accepting benefits for oneself or another for carrying out one's office
    (against Christian Wulff)
    §333 StGB Vorteilsgewährung - giving benefits to someone holding a public office for carrying out their office
    (against in particular David Groenewald)

    Groenewald went on a joint vacation with Wulff and others in 2007 (while Wulff was prime minister) and supposedly paid the hotel bill for Wulff. Wulff claims he paid Groenewald back in cash later. A year later, Groenewald invited Wulff to Munich; Wulff paid the basic hotel bill in that case, but Groenewald supposedly paid for an upgrade to a better room worth about 400 Euro. And back in 2005 Groenewald paid a journalist working on a biography of Wulff some 10,000 Euro in order for the book - which portrays Wulff very favourably - to get published.
    Groenewald is a manager of a movie production fonds that received a 4 million Euro debt guarantee for one of its subsidiary companies from the state of Lower Saxony in 2006. Wulff also lobbied for movie production funds of the type Groenewald ran, which back in 2005 were under fire for being nothing but tax writeoff fonds for investors.
    Among the files is also a 2009 Lower Saxon government paper in which financial experts analysing the past practices came to the conclusion that no more debt guarantees should be given to movie fonds. Wulff amended this paper with a comment that reports on activities connecting the government with Groenewald in this regard should be kept on the low-down and - in a handwritten addition - that in his opinion the no to further debt guarantee was "too fundamental".

    The second set of files the district attorney received from the state chancellery of Lower Saxony were on the "North-South-Dialogue". That's the one involving Glaeseker, the one whose offices at the Presidential Office were searched.

    One far more complicated question being raised by constitutional law experts right now is whether Wulff would get the honor pay, the immediate pension for ex-presidents, if he steps down in light of the accusations. The law technically says no, but since the government, ie. Merkel decides this question this puts Wulff in a "dangerous dependency" with regard to Merkel (a technically unbearable dependency, since he is supposed to check the constitutionality of laws).

  10. #25
    Senior Contributor Doktor's Avatar
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    What's the annual figure of that honor pay?

    For instance our previous President receives 180,000 EUR annually, while still being leader of the social democratic party.
    No such thing as a good tax - Churchill

    To make mistakes is human. To blame someone else for your mistake, is strategic.

  11. #26
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    Current honor pay is 199,000 Euro per year, the same as he's being paid right now for his office. Problem is that the law enacting it restricts it to presidents who've served out one term in office or who have stepped down for either "health reasons" or "political reasons". Köhler getting it is considered reasonable because he served a full term and stepped down for something that can be termed as political reasons.

    Wulff would also still get a "bridging benefit" stemming from his time as state prime minister, about 85,000 per year for two years (since he didn't tap that when he switched from state prime minister to president).

  12. #27
    Senior Contributor Doktor's Avatar
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    His health can get worse anytime soon
    No such thing as a good tax - Churchill

    To make mistakes is human. To blame someone else for your mistake, is strategic.

  13. #28
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    He's gonna give a speech in about 90 minutes, Merkel will follow him 30 minutes later after she cancelled her planned trip to Italy for today.

    I'm giving him 90 minutes to step down

  14. #29
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    BaFin, the German financial oversight agency, is now also investigating Wulff for possibly violating investment law when he was CEO of VW (due to his state prime minister post, VW is partially owned by the state). Basically Wulff knew in advance that Porsche was trying to take over VW in 2008 but did not make the VW board aware of that despite the law requiring him to do so. This little omission by Wulff cost investors several billion Euro. The crime would carry a fine of up to one million Euro.

  15. #30
    Senior Contributor Doktor's Avatar
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    Wasn't Schröder also in VW board?
    No such thing as a good tax - Churchill

    To make mistakes is human. To blame someone else for your mistake, is strategic.

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