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The BBC's Rob Broomby reports
"The party financing scandal has taken another dramatic turn"
 real 28k

Thursday, 27 January, 2000, 19:26 GMT
More cash unearthed in CDU scandal

Kohl: Refuses to name secret donors

Auditors investigating the finances of the party of the former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl say almost DM20m ($10m) in party funds was secretly transferred to Switzerland - more than double the amount previously declared.

Hesse state premier and president of the beleaguered Christian Democratic Union, Roland Koch, had previously admitted that DM7m or DM8m had been funnelled to Switzerland from party accounts.

"This has got to be the right figure," said Mr Koch, who has come under pressure to resign despite insisting he knew nothing of the transfers, which took place in the 1980s, before he was elected state premier.

Secret accounts

CDU officials in Hesse, which includes Germany's financial capital, Frankfurt, admitted earlier this month they transferred cash out of official party books into secret accounts in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

The cash was later funnelled back to the party, swollen by substantial investment gains, in small batches to avoid Germany's tight party funding rules.

The revelations forced the head of the CDU in Hesse, Manfred Kanther, to resign.

The affair prompted the headline in the mass-circulation Bildt newspaper: 'Money Laundering, Like the Mafia".

The Kohl connection

It has emerged that the money was funnelled into accounts held by the CDU's economic adviser, Horst Weyrauch, whose name has already surfaced in connection with a scandal that erupted last month concerning former Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

Mr Kohl admitted accepting up to DM2m ($1m) from anonymous donors in the 1990s and keeping them off party books.

He acknowledged the existence of a web of secret accounts into which the donations were placed, thus breaking the laws requiring the declaration of substantial cash gifts.

To the dismay of many in the beleaguered party - which is now fighting for its political survival - Mr Kohl refused to name the donors.

The former chancellor resigned as chairman of the CDU on 18 January. But current party chairman Wolfgang Schaeuble survived calls for his resignation after being implicated in the scandal.

The new CDU revelations come one day after a senior minister of the governing Social Democrat coalition was forced to step down after admitting that he lied over the acceptance of free flights.
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See also:
24 Jan 00 |  Europe
'French connection' in German scandal
21 Jan 00 |  Europe
CDU suicide triggers police search
20 Jan 00 |  Europe
Political scandal threatens German business
19 Jan 00 |  Europe
Analysis: Tough road ahead for CDU
19 Jan 00 |  Europe
Q&A: Germany's party funding scandal
20 Jan 00 |  Europe
Kohl defies resignation pressure
04 Jan 00 |  Europe
Kohl's mark on history
04 Jan 00 |  Europe
Kohl scandal: The story so far
27 Jan 00 |  Europe
SPD official resigns over free flights

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