Tuesday, February 27

Two ministers of the new German government, investigated for possible irregular use of ‘COVID bonds’ in the green party

The co-leaders of the German Greens party, Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck, foreign and economy ministers respectively, are being investigated as part of a possible case of irregular use of party funds, different German media reported on Wednesday.

The Berlin Public Prosecutor’s Office has confirmed to the weekly Der Spiegel which is investigating an “early-stage suspicion” that the co-leaders and four other members of the green board may have committed a crime by irregularly granting themselves bonuses in 2020.

COVID bonds

The case was already covered by the press last year, when an internal audit of the party determined that the extra payments, worth 1,500 euros, contravened the training regulations, for which Habeck, Baerbock and the others involved reimbursed them. . According to the prosecution, the investigation was triggered by a complaint from an individual, motivated by the media coverage of the case.

As he commented to Der Spiegel According to a party spokesperson, from the board’s point of view, this body had the necessary powers to make decisions such as the payment of a COVID bonus to all employees at the Berlin headquarters. The objective was to compensate for the extraordinary expenses caused by teleworking.

However, in the fall of 2021, the auditors of the green formation determined that internal regulations did not allow, specifically, the six-member federal board to receive this sum, since it should have been previously authorized by the party’s federal financial council.

As a result of the criticism caused by the case, which contributed to damaging the image of Baerbock, then a candidate for chancellorship, the green directive decided to completely eliminate any type of bonuses or bonuses for its members, including Christmas pay. Baerbock’s campaign was also tarnished by the fact that he did not inform the Bundestag of other extraordinary payments obtained from his party between 2018 and 2020, for a total of 25,220 euros, something he described as an unintentional error.