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German Green Party leaders face probe over bonus payments

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Berlin prosecutors have opened an investigation into Germany’s Green Party leadership, including the country’s new vice-chancellor and foreign minister, over pandemic bonus payments last winter

Prosecutors and the party on Wednesday confirmed the investigation into a preliminary suspicion of breach of trust following a report by the weekly Der Spiegel, the dpa news agency reported.

At issue is the party leadership’s role in approving the “corona bonus” of 1,500 euros ($1,700) per person for party headquarters employees and the leaders themselves. The bonus was intended to compensate for the inconvenience caused by working from home and by the renovation work on the building.

The six-member board includes co-leaders Robert Habeck and Annalena Baerbock. Habeck became German vice-chancellor and economics and climate minister when the Greens joined Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s new government last month. Baerbock became Foreign Minister of Germany.

The two leave the party leadership later this month, something the Greens expect from government ministers.

The party’s internal auditors have already raised questions about bonus payments to the executive board, dpa reported.

The Greens party said its leadership had the right to make the decision, but has since refunded the bonuses. He said the party leadership and headquarters are cooperating with prosecutors to clear up the case.

Prosecutors said there have been several criminal complaints from individuals, which they are obligated to investigate. The investigation was opened on January 6.

German Green Party leaders face probe over bonus payments

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