The Berlin public prosecutor’s office has launched an investigation into the two leaders of the co-governing German Greens, Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck, over the legality of special coronavirus bonuses paid out to the party’s executive board, the office’s spokesperson confirmed on Wednesday.
The executive board of the party allegedly approved payments of €1,500 to be distributed to themselves in what could be construed as a possible breach of trust to the detriment of the party.
All employees of the Greens’ federal office received the €1,500 bonus last winter, an offer intended to compensate for the costs of home working.
The prosecutor’s spokesman confirmed there had been several criminal complaints in relation to the Greens and investigations have in fact been ongoing since Jan. 6, with internal party auditors already raising objections to the payments for the executive board.
A Greens spokesperson also confirmed the investigation in a statement on Wednesday. “It’s about the participation of the members of the federal executive board in decisions on the payment of so-called ‘corona bonuses,’ which – as already known – were paid to all employees of the federal office and at the same time to the federal executive board in 2020.
“The board members concerned and the main office are cooperating fully with the public prosecutor’s office to clarify the facts quickly and comprehensively,” the spokesperson added.
The Greens board includes party leaders Annalena Baerbock (now Foreign Minister) and Robert Habeck (Minister of Economic Affairs); as well as Michael Kellner, Jamila Schaefer, Ricarda Lang and Marc Urbatsch. At the party conference at the end of next week, the party will elect a new national board.
The board members have since repaid the bonuses.