The news shocked Germany when it emerged in early 2014.
Sebastian Edathy, a rising star of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) had quit his job “due to ill health” just a few days before investigators searched his home and parliamentary office.
His name was featured on the client list of a Canadian company that sold naked videos of children to customers all over the world for several years beginning in 2005.
Edathy was ordered to pay €5,000 to a good cause by judges in the wake of the scandal – only for the child abuse charity which was supposed to receive the money to reject the payment because of the nature of his offence.
The money was eventually given to the Lower Saxony Youth Fire Brigade.
But, the MP's disgrace also claimed the scalp of Agriculture Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich – the first member of Merkel's cabinet to resign following elections in 2013.
While serving as Interior Minister, Friedrich of the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) warned SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel of the investigation into Edathy thanks to his privileged access to the police.
Now Edathy has come forward to offer his own version of events in an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) magazine.
The politician – who the SZ reports now lives in an undisclosed location in north Africa – claims that “misguided curiosity” led him to pay for the videos of naked children.
“These films had nothing to do with [sexual] posing or pornography,” Edathy said.
“Everything I ordered was found [by investigators] to be just as I evaluated it myself, namely not punishable under German law.”
But while Edathy claims that he is “definitely not a paedophile,” with “no sexual interest in under-aged children,” he acknowledges that he might be a “borderline” case.
“I don't want to rule that out,” he told the SZ.
“What I was accused of could have something to do with not living a full sexual life for a long time,” he added.
He complains in the interview of living off savings and the generosity of relatives – and of suffering from suicidal thoughts because of his bleak future outlook.
Now Edathy wants to return to Germany to seal a civil union with his partner, a hotel manager – although he is certain to be the focus of a storm of media attention if he does so.
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