• Germany's news in English
 
jobs_header_v3

Lobbyist suspected of spying on Health Ministry

The Local · 12 Dec 2012, 12:22

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit


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
Nazi POW leaves estate to 'kind' Scottish village
The former German soldier stayed on to work in the Perthshire village for a time after the war. Photo: Andy Buchanan / AFP file picture

A former Nazi prisoner of war has left his entire estate in his will to a small village in Scotland to show his appreciation for the kindness he received there during his captivity.

US tries to block Chinese purchase of Aixtron
Photo: Oliver Berg / DPA / AFP

US President Barack Obama on Friday moved to block a Chinese company's purchase of German semiconductor equipment maker Aixtron by rejecting the inclusion of Aixtron's US business in the deal.

Merkel to chart 2017 election battle at party congress
Photo: Tobias Schwarz / AFP

After Donald Trump's shock victory, Francois Hollande's decision not to seek re-election and populism on the rise, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is next up on the campaign podium to set out her strategy for winning in 2017 polls.

Berlin vs Munich: whose newborn polar bear is cuter?
Berlin's (left) and Munich's (right) newborn bears. Photos: Tierpark Berlin / DPA

Both city zoos welcomed baby polar bears into the world in November, with Berlin zoo its releasing first photos on Friday. But which one is more adorable?

Learn how to speak German like a silver screen icon
Dirty Harry. Photo: DPA

We all agree that there is no other option than to learn irregular German verbs by rote. But when you want a bit of downtime, why not learn from your big screen heroes?

Stolen Dachau 'Work will set you free' gate found: police
The entrance to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Photo: DPA

An iron gate from the former Nazi concentration camp in Germany's Dachau with the slogan "Arbeit macht frei" ("Work will set you free") has been found two years after it was stolen, police said Friday.

Mystery flight path artist draws new message in sky
Photo: DPA

A pilot who likes to draw patterns in the sky using his flight path has returned with his greatest artwork yet.

Berlin 'abusing power' to stop Snowden coming to Germany
Edward Snowden. Photo: DPA

Opposition parties have accused the coalition government of overstepping its authority in its attempt to block American whistleblower Edward Snowden's trip to Germany.

Germany gains record number of Michelin-star restaurants
Head of the Michelin Guide, Michael Ellis (centre) with Michelin-star chefs at a presentation in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

Germany had a slew of newly minted Michelin-star restaurants this year, and its top-rated establishments held onto their prestigious three stars.

At last: Germany passes major disabled rights reform
People in wheelchairs watch as the German parliament deliberates on the new disability rights reform. Photo: DPA.

For years people with disabilities in Germany have called for legislation to provide them with better benefits and opportunities in life and work. On Thursday the German parliament passed such a reform - but is it enough?

Lifestyle
10 German Christmas cookies you have to bake this winter
Sponsored Article
The key to launching your international career
Lifestyle
Our 10-step guide for doing Christmas just like a German
National
Here's why so many Germans vote for the far-right AfD
National
7 events in Germany that'll make December unforgettable
Lifestyle
7 frosty German sayings to make you a winter wordsmith
National
This is how unequal German society has become
National
Six things you should know about the Lufthansa strike
National
9 ways living in Germany will make you a better person
National
These 10 German Christmas markets cannot be missed
Features
8 German words that unlock amazing secrets in English
Culture
10 German words with simply hilarious literal translations
Lifestyle
7 things Germans do that make foreigners feel awkward
International
Why Donald Trump's grandad was booted out of Germany
National
This is what is really inside your Döner kebab
National
Rejoice! Christmas markets start opening across Germany
Education
These German universities are best at landing you a job
Travel
Why Heidelberg is Germany's most inspiring city
Lifestyle
This soppy German Christmas ad will bring you to tears
National
Here's where Germans speak the best (and worst) English
Culture
10 German books you have to read before you die
Culture
U-Bahn train found filled with autumn foliage in Berlin
Features
Seven German words that unlock amazing secrets about English
Travel
Germany's ten most beautiful towns you've never visited
6,619
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd