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Germany

German ex-President Christian Wulff charged with corruption

German prosecutors have said they filed corruption charges against former President Christian Wulff, over alleged favors that prompted his resignation last year. The move came after Wulff had rejected a settlement offer.

The public prosecutor in Hanover, the capital of Lower Saxony where Wulff was state premier before he became president, said on Friday that corruption charges were going to be pressed against the former president.

Former German President faces corruption charges

On Tuesday of this week, Wulff had vowed to fight to clear his name in court, as he has consistently denied all allegations.

It is alleged that former German head of state received favors from rich friends, including luxury hotel stays from film producer David Groenewold, whom he allegedly helped by lobbying for cinema project grants.

The case against Wulff centers around full or partial payments Groenewold made at three expensive hotels in 2007 and 2008, on the northern German island of Sylt and the southern city of Munich.

Spiegel Online reported last month that Hanover prosecutors offered Wulff and Groenewold the opportunity to settle and accept a fine of up to 50,000 euros ($65,000).

German law allows cases that are in the public interest, but are not especially severe, to be settled out of court, although a person is not legally cleared of any wrongdoing.

The case is part of a wider political corruption probe against Wulff, which also involves a discounted home loan he accepted from the partner of a wealthy business friend.

The Hanover regional court now has to decide whether the charges are sufficient to launch a trial against him.

rg/slk (AP, dpa)

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