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'Baron Cut-and-Paste' pays to avoid plagiarism charges

The Local · 23 Nov 2011, 15:48

Published: 23 Nov 2011 15:48 GMT+01:00

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Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, once the most popular figure in Merkel's cabinet, resigned on March 1 after his doctorate was rescinded for plagiarism, earning the aristocrat the nickname "Baron Cut-and-Paste."

Now prosecutors in the southern city of Hof said they had closed their case against Guttenberg, also savaged in the press as "zu Googleberg," after he donated €20,000 ($26,800) to a children's cancer charity.

The practice is relatively common for relatively minor legal infractions.

The 39-year-old was accused of violating copyrights after it emerged that swathes of his doctoral dissertation on constitutional law were lifted directly from other works.

The prosecutor's office said it had received 199 criminal complaints against zu Guttenberg, who is currently living in the United States with his family, but only one came from an author whose work was allegedly stolen.

Prosecutors had pored over the dissertation looking for evidence of plagiarism but concluded that only "23 text passages were found to be copyright violations under criminal law."

"That is why a court and the public prosecutor's office concluded that a payment of €20,000 for a charity organisation would obviate the public interest in a criminal prosecution," it said.

Zu Guttenberg, once seen as the most promising up-and-coming politician in Merkel's conservative alliance, agreed to stop using his doctor title as the scandal emerged early this year.

Story continues below…

He is to publish a new memoir entitled "Unsuccessful, For Now" next week amid media speculation about a potential political comeback at the next scheduled general election in 2013.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:27 November 23, 2011 by jmclewis
So German Justice is determined on ones financial ability to influence the prosecution.
17:39 November 23, 2011 by Ludinwolf
That came out beautiful.

He cleans his mess with money and at the same time sparkle his future by showing dignity-- donating to a charity part.

WOW germany, so robust, so cocky, so full of mercedez and bmw but is not better than countries with high corruption. what a ars* example of justice.
00:27 November 24, 2011 by ChrisRea
Would have been better if he would have to do community service? I guess not.

Anyway, his mess will never be cleaned. He will be forever remembered as "zu Googleberg". So I am pretty satisfied with the solution.
10:04 November 24, 2011 by nemo999
German Justice appears to be rather cheap, €20,000, €869.65 per alleged copyright violation. The price of Opel to get out of Jail. It should have least cost him the price of a new Class E with all of the options. Think of the children Karl-Theodore.

Do not look now but there may have been another crime committed in Hof.
11:09 November 24, 2011 by Englishted
My god in this day and age you can still buy justice ,what happens to somebody who does not have his cash ?, €20,000 is peanuts to him but the principal is what is so very wrong,reminds me of indulgences bought before you commit the act.

One law for us and no law for them ,nothing new.
12:12 November 24, 2011 by lucksi
I hope that if I will ever be under prosecution for something, I can also pay 0.003% of my net worth to get out of the charges.
14:17 November 24, 2011 by Loth
So will he now move on the run Germany or the EU?
14:43 November 24, 2011 by authun
Indeed, Englishted. What a joke, this!
20:42 November 24, 2011 by nemo999
If I had a vote I would vote for the ECB, he should fit in very nicely with that group.
00:11 November 25, 2011 by Yael924
My complaint is: Guttenberg didn't rob children with cancer; he robbed these academics. The academics are the ones who are owed recompence. If they wish to forward the money to a charity, that is thier personal choice. The true victims received no justice here.
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