• Germany's news in English
 

Lobbyist suspected of spying on Health Ministry

Published: 12 Dec 2012 12:22 GMT+01:00

The Berlin state prosecutor's office confirmed to the Süddeutsche Zeitung that it was investigating into claims that the freelance lobbyist had been paying an employee from the ministry's IT department to dig up secrets relevant to the nation's pharmacies starting in 2010.

Draft bills, planned policy changes, and private emails from the inboxes of Health Minister Daniel Bahr and his predecessor Philipp Rösler were among the documents that, the Süddeutsche Zeitung said, the lobbyist obtained.

While the ministry refused to comment on the lobbyist, it did say that an member of IT staff was under investigation and that searches had taken place in their workplace.

“Paid espionage would be a new level that would leave us speechless,” said parliamentary health expert from the Christian Democrats Jens Spahn, who said that the government could handle aggressive lobbying tactics, but that recent developments were unprecedented.

It is thought that the pair were working until this year, when in November the prosecutor caught wind of the operation and searched a number of offices and private residences. A data-protection expert had recently been fired from the ministry, but it is unclear whether the cases are connected.

But ABDA, the main lobby organization for German pharmacists, the denied the spying accusations. “It was never and will never be our policy to represent the interests of the German pharmaceutical industry with a cheque book,” it said in a statement on Wednesday.

“We reject and expressly distance ourselves from such methods of obtaining information,” the ABDA said, adding that, if true, the charges must only apply to an individual incident unrepresentative of the pharmacy industry.

Bahr told the Bild daily that he was “furious about such criminal power,” and has demanded that the Berlin state prosecutor get to the bottom of the situation up as soon as possible.

DPA/DAPD/The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

20:44 December 12, 2012 by Kennneth Ingle
Although I have lived most of my life in this country and do not wish to leave, the politicians who now run Germany are, in my opinion, the worst there have been since the end of the war. Policies are not made for the people, but can presumably be bought, or otherwise forced through, for small groups with special interests which are certainly not in the interest of the general public.
Today's headlines
Sudeten Germans give up 'right to homeland'
Sudeten Germans practising traditional dance at a gathering in 2014. Photo: DPA

Sudeten Germans give up 'right to homeland'

The Sudeten German Homeland Association has given up its claim to the group's former home in parts of the Czech Republic, quieting one of the final echoes of the Second World War. READ  

Minister draws fire over wage transparency plan
Families Minister Manuela Schwesig. Photo: DPA

Minister draws fire over wage transparency plan

Families Minister Manuela Schwesig confirmed on Sunday that she wants a new law allowing women to compare their wages with men doing similar work, provoking angry reactions from employers. READ  

Police wind down Bremen terror response
Heavily-armed police on patrol outside Bremen cathedral. Photo: DPA

Police wind down Bremen terror response

Police in Bremen said that the risk of a terrorist attack had been reduced in the city after they arrested two suspected arms dealers. The city remains under high alert, with special protection for the Jewish community. READ  

Germany's Schäuble softens Greece tone
Photo: DPA

Germany's Schäuble softens Greece tone

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said Sunday Greece's new hard-left government needs "a bit of time" but is committed to implementing necessary reforms to resolve its debt crisis. READ  

UK Pegida rally dwarfed by counter-demo
Photo: DPA

UK Pegida rally dwarfed by counter-demo

An estimated 375 people turned out for the Germany-based PEGIDA movement's first demonstration in Britain on Saturday, but were outnumbered by a 2,000-strong crowd of counter-protesters, police said. READ  

Greek PM vows to 'start working hard' after vote
Photo: DPA

Greek PM vows to 'start working hard' after vote

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras vowed Friday to "start working hard" to implement vital reforms in the stricken eurozone country, after Germany's parliament approved a four month extension to its bailout. READ  

Ukraine: troop deaths 'serious breach' of truce
Photo: DPA

Ukraine: troop deaths 'serious breach' of truce

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko declared the killing of three government troops by pro Moscow rebels a "serious breach of the ceasefire", during a telephone call Friday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, her office said. READ  

Man wins court battle over loud footsteps
Trouble at the top. Photo: DPA

Man wins court battle over loud footsteps

Germany's highest civil court ruled in favour of a man who swapped the carpet in his new apartment for parquet flooring, incurring the wrath of the retired couple who lived below him over his loud footsteps. READ  

Teachers to strike nationwide from Monday
Photo: DPA

Teachers to strike nationwide from Monday

Teachers all over the country are expected to stike starting Monday, German education trade union GEW said, after negotiations with the wage commission of the federal states (TdL) failed to achieve results. READ  

EU court deals blow to US Iraq objector's hopes
Andre Shepherd at the European Court of Justice in June 2014. Photo: DPA

EU court deals blow to US Iraq objector's hopes

American soldier Andre Shepherd, who applied for asylum in Germany as a conscientious objector against the war in Iraq after going AWOL from his unit, saw a judgement by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) go against him on Thursday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Politics
Surprise! Germans love feeling like they run the EU
Politics
Anger over plan to show women what men earn
Travel
Munich tram fans bicker over new bell
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
Photo: Police
Rhineland
Student driver crashes tank into family garden.
Photo: DPA
Politics
There was a notable absence at the Anti-Semitism Commission
Sponsored Article
Tourist or lifer: what sort of expat are you?
National
How Dresden bombing still divides Germany, 70 years on
Sponsored Article
Are you an American expat? How to face FATCA
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Take a cute break with this gallery of baby animals
International
What's keeping UK expats from voting?
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
All you ever needed to know about Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,157
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd