The West German parliament is investigating allegations that one of its former members was bribed by the ruling Social Democratic Party.
The West German parliament is investigating allegations that one of its former members was bribed by the ruling Social Democratic Party. Herr Julius Steiner, an Opposition member in the last Parliament, claims to have been paid 50,000 Deutsche Marks (about GBP 8,500) for abstaining in a vote of "no confidence" against Chancellor Willy Brandt in April last year. Herr Seiner says his abstention ensured the Chancellor's political survival. Only two votes saved the Government from defeat on April 27th.
Herr Steiner claims he received the money from the Social Democratic Party Whip, Herr Karl Wienand just after the vote. Herr Wienand denies that he was the donor.
A parliamentary enquiry, which was convened six weeks ago to investigate Herr Steiner's charges, heard on Wednesday (5 September) that a high-ranking member of the West German Cabinet had withdrawn 50,000 Marks from the Chancellor's secret account the day before the vote. Professor Horst Ehmke, then Minister to the Chancellery and now Minister of Technology, confirmed that the money had been taken out of the account on his authority, but denied that the money was paid to Steiner. He said the money was locked away in the safe. Professor Ehmke also denied that the money was passed on to Herr Wienand.