Home Business Economy & Politics Christian Wulff goes on trial over receiving and granting favors in office

Christian Wulff goes on trial over receiving and granting favors in office


Former German President Christian Wulff will go on trial today over receiving and granting favors in office.

Christian Wulff, 54, is alleged to have accepted the payment of hotel bills by a film producer in return for lobbying while he was premier of Lower Saxony in 2008.

The former president – who stepped down in February 2012 after less than two years in the post – is Germany’s first head of state to answer charges in court.

Christian Wulff rejects the allegations and has vowed to clear his name.

Film producer David Groenewold also faces similar charges.

The trial is expected to start at 10 a.m. local time in the northern city of Hannover.

Christian Wulff is alleged to have allowed film producer David Groenewold to pay hotel bills in Munich during the Oktoberfest beer festival in 2008 and on the northern island of Sylt in 2007.

In return, Christian Wulff is accused of having lobbied German companies to support David Groenewold’s work.

Christian Wulff is alleged to have accepted the payment of hotel bills by a film producer in return for lobbying while he was premier of Lower Saxony in 2008

Christian Wulff is alleged to have accepted the payment of hotel bills by a film producer in return for lobbying while he was premier of Lower Saxony in 2008

Prosecutors had sought to put the former head on trial for corruption, but the court only approved the less serious charges.

If convicted, Christian Wulff faces up to three years in jail or a fine.

Christian Wulff and David Groenewold had rejected an offer from the prosecutor in March to settle the case with a fine – a procedure allowed for cases not considered especially serious.

He resigned amid a welter of unfavorable coverage in the German media dealing with his links to businessmen.

The pressure on him increased at the end of December 2011 with allegations, published in the mass circulation Bild newspaper, about a low interest home loan received from the wife of a wealthy businessman in 2008.

Christian Wulff was accused of giving misleading statements about the loan and later apologised to the editor of Bild, Kai Diekmann, for leaving an angry message on his voicemail threatening him if the story was published.

Chancellor Angela Merkel had pushed strongly to get Christian Wulff, from her centre-right CDU party, appointed to the largely ceremonial post in 2010.

At the time of his resignation, Angela Merkel said she accepted it “with respect but also with regret” and that she was convinced he had “acted legally”.

President Christian Wulff was succeeded by the Lutheran pastor and former East German anti-communist campaigner, Joachim Gauck.