German prosecution mulls lifting immunity of Finance Minister Lindner

Prosecutors are looking to investigate whether Lindner may have colluded with a bank financing his home purchase

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Mandiner
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, left, and German Finance Minister Christian Lindner arrive for the debate about the 2023 budget at the Bundestag in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

The Berlin prosecutor’s office is considering a request for the suspension of German federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner’s (FDP) parliamentary immunity in connection with the politician’s real estate purchase, German news portals reported on Monday.

The corruption department of the Berlin prosecutor’s office stressed that a waiver of immunity would be a “routine step” only necessary to launch a formal investigation, and would not mean that a so-called initial suspicion was established. They added that a decision on whether to request the waiver of immunity would be made shortly.

The authority is interested in Lindner’s property purchase in connection with a report in the news magazine Der Spiegel in October.

The leader of the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP), the smallest member of the coalition federal government, bought a family home in the upmarket Nikolasse district of Steglitz-Zehlendorf in Berlin with a loan from a private bank based in Karlsruhe.

As finance minister, he wrote a toast in May 2022 to mark the centenary of the bank’s founding. In the text, he did not mention that he was one of its customers. A little over a month later, he took out another loan from the bank, for which he registered a mortgage on the property worth €450,000.

According to reports, the minister may have broken the law if the second loan was linked to the anniversary toast. The politician may be investigated on suspicion of obtaining an undue advantage and the bank on suspicion of also providing an undue advantage.

Lindner’s lawyer said that the politician had started to arrange the financing of his residential property well before he took up his ministerial post in December 2021 and that the terms of the transactions were in line with market conditions. The lawyer also argues that a short toast to the anniversary of the founding of a bank was part of his job as minister.

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