Italian police found 48-year-old judge Jörg L. in a luxury hotel in Milan on March 31st. He had €30,000 in cash, a loaded pistol and was accompanied by a 26-year-old Romanian woman.
Officers took him into custody and held him under corruption charges, Spiegel Online reported on Sunday. He is awaiting extradition back to Germany.
Jörg L., employed by the Lower Saxony justice ministry, is suspected of selling the answers to state law exams to students in Celle in 2011 when he was working for the examinations board.
He was one of the only people to have access to the papers, according to Spiegel. If he is found guilty of having done so, graduates could have their qualifications revoked. They could even face bribery charges themselves.
A 12-person committee will begin reviewing the 2,000 or so exams sat in Celle since 2011, Lower Saxony's state justice secretary Wolfgang Scheibel confirmed. “There is no other way,” he added.
While the price paid for the answers has not been confirmed, Scheibel said: "We're certainly not talking about pocket change here."
Suspicions first surfaced in 2013 after a student repeating the exam performed unusually well on his second attempt. In January of this year, a second student then told authorities that a tutor – not the judge in custody – had offered her exam answers in exchange for cash.
The tutor, who had previously worked with the judge, is being investigated as a potential accomplice.
Investigators issued an arrest warrant against Jörg L. on March 27th. But he had allegedly already overheard a conversation about the suspicions against him and fled to Italy before police could reach him.
He checked into a four-star hotel in Milan which was where he was arrested under a Europe-wide warrant. He put up no resistance, Spiegel reported.
The Ministry of Justice said that some of the exam materials may have been used outside Lower Saxony and did not rule out the possibility that the judge may have had connections in other states.
All law examination boards in Germany have been advised to no longer use exams from Lower Saxony.