The trial against CSU MP Franz Rieger has started. It’s probably about illegal donations. Rieger is accused of extortion and aiding and abetting tax evasion.
Regensburg – The CSU * member of the state parliament, Franz Rieger, has to answer in connection with the acquisition of campaign donations in 2013 before the regional court of Regensburg. From the point of view of the public prosecutor’s office, he was guilty of aiding and abetting tax evasion, extortion and violating the law on political parties. At the start of the trial on Monday, the 62-year-old was silent. He has always denied the allegations.
According to the indictment, in 2013 Rieger solicited donations of 60,000 euros from a property developer for his candidacy for the state parliament. After the man refused, Rieger apparently resorted to other means to convince the developer. In view of the upcoming local elections, the CSU politician is said to have said: “You already know who will decide on the building projects and the building permits in the future.”
Public prosecutor: Rieger blackmailed property developers
The public prosecutor’s office judged Rieger’s statement to the developer as clear blackmail. The entrepreneur then agreed to make a donation – just below the publication limit of 10,000 euros – and to accept two bogus invoices from a PR company in the amount of around 30,000 euros.
The allegations against Rieger do not end here. In addition, the indictment concerns a system of straw man donations. The goal: to cover up another contractor’s donation. The so-called “straw man system” constitutes a violation of the political party law, as the total amount does not appear in the statement of accounts. In the statement of accounts, the donations were only given as individual donations in the amount of 9,950 euros each, reported the Central Bavarian citing the prosecutor.
Judgment on the donation affair probably at the end of November
The public prosecutor’s office accuses the owner of the PR agency of aiding and abetting tax evasion. That is why he is sitting in the dock together with CSU politician Rieger. According to the indictment, the PR man presented the contractor with bogus invoices. The building contractor, in turn, claimed these as operating expenses in the 2013 corporation and trade tax return.
A tax reduction of 7888.56 euros was wrongly made, like that Central Bavarian informed. Rieger and the PR man are said to have been guilty of aiding and abetting tax evasion. Both Rieger and the co-accused entrepreneur did not want to comment on the allegations after the indictment was read out and were silent for the time being. A verdict on the donation process by CSU politician Franz Rieger will probably be made at the end of November.
CSU politician rejects allegations
The blackmail allegations against him were “deliberate damage” to his person, said the CSU MP Central Bavarian as early as 2018: “The timing, procedure and manner speak a clear language.” He also claimed that the allegations were “completely out of thin air” and “absurd and unfounded”.
In a statement at the beginning of the affair, he also stated that he wanted to prove that he had never forced anyone to make a donation. He described the donations as “inconspicuous individual donations”, while the blackmail allegation was “false allegations of a convicted entrepreneur during his custody”.
In the light of the affair, the Bavarian state parliament lifted the immunity of the CSU politician Rieger in 2019. (bb with material from dpa) * Merkur.de is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA