Lack of evidence may prevent ex-President trial
Published: 13 Jan 2013 16:41 GMT+01:00
Updated: 13 Jan 2013 16:41 GMT+01:00
Disgraced German ex-President Christian Wulff may not have to stand trial for corruption allegations which cost him his job last year, as prosecutors do not have sufficient evidence against him, a newspaper said on Sunday.
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Prosecutors do not have enough evidence to bring Wulff to trial for the various corruption allegations which eventually forced him out of office last February, according to a report by the Bild am Sonntag tabloid.
Investigators said they did not have sufficient grounds for a trial, wrote the newspaper, citing a report by the Lower Saxony State Office of Criminal Investigation.
Specifically, authorities had not discovered enough evidence to support the claim that film producer David Groenewold paid hotel bills for Wulff when he was still state premier of Lower Saxony in return for political favours – an accusation Wulff has always denied.
Wulff's mother-in-law backed up his claim that he paid the bill himself, wrote the paper, and said that she gave her daughter - Wulff's ex-wife as of last week - some cash at the time with which the couple paid the hotel.
But the public prosecutors office in Hannover advised caution and said that various investigations were still open against the ex-President. “I can't predict when they will be closed,” said spokesman Hans-Jürgen Lendeckel, who added that further witnesses still had to be questioned.
These included two former members of Wulff's staff, along with a further witness who has recently come forward in connection with the hotel stay, wrote Der Speigel magazine on Sunday.
The public prosecutors office in Hannover is expected to give an official announcement on whether or not it will bring the charges against Wulff after Lower Saxony's regional elections next weekend.