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Former Germany president charged with corruption

German prosecutors on Friday charged former president Christian Wulff with corruption for allegedly accepting bribes in exchange for political favors before his assent to office in 2010. In 2008 then-govenor Wulff reportedly accepted [AP report] approximately €4000 (USD $5000) from German film producer David Groenewold to cover hotel bills during a holiday visit to the Oktoberfest beer festival in Munich. In return Wulff allegedly lobbied for financial support from German-company Siemens AG [corporate website] on Groenewold's behalf before being selected as president in 2010. In 2012 Wulff resigned from office in the midst of further corruption accusations. According to media sources, Wulff denies the allegations [BBC report] and seeks to disprove the charges in court after rejecting an offer in March to settle the case by paying fines. Groenewold has also been charged with bribery.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel [official website, in German] selected Wulff to fill the largely ceremonial role of president in 2010. In 2011 German media sources accused Wulff of accepting a €500,000 (USD $650,000) low interest home loan from the wife of German businessman Egon Geerkens. Wulff reportedly gave false statements [BBC report] about the loan in front of parliament, leading to his resignation in February 2012. Corruption has been an issue in Germany in the past. In January 2007 Germany introduced draft legislation [JURIST report] to tighten anti-corruption laws on the heels of scandals at Volkswagen AG and Siemens AG. The law sought to increase public prosecutors' power to investigate corruption of a broader range of implicated employees, and to allow employees of foreign corporations to be indicted in Germany.

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