German Official Admits Misusing Funds, Resigns

From the Washington Post

The most prominent eastern German in Chancellor Helmut Kohl's government, Transportation Minister Guenther Krause, resigned Thursday after admitting he used public funds to move his family to a new house.

Krause, once billed by the Kohl government as the "model ossi, " or easterner, is the eighth minister to leave Germany's 20-member Cabinet in the past 13 months.

A wave of scandals--most of them involving high officials peddling influence or abusing power for strikingly small amounts of money--has severely damaged public trust in both Kohl's government and its opposition.

Krause, who represented East Germany in its 1990 unification talks with West Germany, was the most prominent of the Cabinet's three eastern Germans. He will be replaced by a westerner, Research Minister Matthias Wissmann.

Thursday morning, Kohl, who had stuck by Krause through several scandals, summoned the minister to his office and asked for his resignation, officials said.

Krause's tenure was riddled with questions about ethics. But the last straw was the revelation that he charged the government 6,400 marks ($4,200) to move his family from Berlin to the countryside.

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