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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 April, 2004, 14:36 GMT 15:36 UK
Bundesbank to probe 'perk' boss
Ernst Welteke
Mr Welteke faces pressure to quit
Germany's Bundesbank is to investigate the conduct of its head, Ernst Welteke, who accepted a luxury hotel stay paid for by a bank he regulates.

Mr Welteke spent four nights with his family at Berlin's top Adlon Hotel during celebrations of the euro's launch on 1 January, 2002.

The 7,600-euro (5,000; $9,200) bill was picked up by the Dresdner Bank.

Mr Welteke asked the Bundesbank to look into the case "comprehensively" and "without prejudice".

"I deeply regret that... the impression arose that I would not myself take into consideration the high standards to which the Bundesbank is committed as an independent institution," he said.

Resignation?

He confirmed that he, his wife and their three-year-old son, as well as his 25-year-old son and his son's girlfriend, had stayed in the hotel.

The scandal has been embarrassing for the Bundesbank, which has a reputation for independence from the government and other banks it regulates.

Mr Welteke has paid the Dresdner Bank for two nights of the stay and the Bundesbank paid for the other two nights, which he said were considered a working stay.

Finance Minister Hans Eichel said it was up to the Bundesbank to review the case but pointed out that the conduct would have been unacceptable if Mr Welteke had been a government minister.

Despite calls for his resignation, Mr Welteke reportedly does not "intend to step down" over the controversy, according to a spokesman.

The Bundesbank is not part of the government machinery, but is governed by its own statutes which relate to civil service law. The civil service code in Germany does not allow its personnel to accept gifts.

Mr Welteke is Germany's highest-paid civil servant, earning 350,000 euros per year.




SEE ALSO:
Bundesbank boss in row over perks
05 Apr 04  |  Business
Germany puts price on euro switch
19 Jan 04  |  Business
EU praises euro changeover
02 Jan 02  |  Business
The fall and rise of the euro
05 Jan 04  |  Business


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