Global Policy Forum

German CDU Unearths

January 27, 2000

Berlin - A regional branch of Germany's opposition Christian Democrats said Thursday it had unearthed millions of marks more cash transferred into secret accounts abroad in the 1980s than previously admitted to. A CDU spokesman in the state of Hesse said the sum lay well above the eight million marks ($4 million) made public by the party branch earlier this month in a scandal over party funds. Asked about reports that the total figure was 20 million marks, CDU spokesman Christian Schnee replied: ``I do not deny that.''

Hesse state premier Roland Koch, who has come under pressure from rival parties to resign despite insisting he knew nothing of the undeclared funds, was due to hold a news conference on the new development at 1400 GMT. Former leaders of the CDU in Hesse, which surrounds Germany's financial capital Frankfurt, admitted this month they transferred cash out of the party's official books into secret accounts in Switzerland and Liechtenstein in the early 1980s.

The cash, swollen by substantial investment gains, was later funneled back into the party, sometimes falsely declared as legacies of grateful Holocaust survivors living abroad. Former interior minister and then CDU Hesse chief Manfred Kanther quit his seat in parliament as a result. A vote to dissolve the state assembly was narrowly avoided by the CDU, which forms a majority with a junior partner, the Free Democrats.


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