FDP must pay €3.5-mln fine for illegal donations

FDP must pay €3.5-mln fine for illegal donations
Photo: DPA
A court on Tuesday said Germany’s pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP) must pay almost €3.5 million in fines for illegal political donations collected in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

The FDP, the junior coalition partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right government, had filed a lawsuit challenging the hefty penalty for dubious donations from 1996 to 2002 connected to the now late party leader in the state, Jürgen Möllemann.

The German parliament the Bundestag determined Möllemann, who likely committed suicide in 2003 while skydiving, had accepted sizable amounts of money in cash, divided them into small sums, and handed them over to the party under fake donor names.

The court said Bundestag President Norbert Lammert “correctly” levied the fine in July for circumventing Germany’s party financing laws.

But FDP leader and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle can still appeal the verdict, as it is not yet legally binding.

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