Berlin’s prosecutors decided to end the investigation that sought to find whether Daimler AG and its chief executive officer “granted undue advantage” to one of the company’s recently hired lobbyists – an ex-aide of Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Eckart von Klaeden, the former treasurer of Merkel’s Christian Democrat party, was hired by Daimler as chief political lobbyist and the prosecutors began probing the German automaker back in November 2013 to see if the move was done properly. The state officials looked into Daimler’s job offer and also verified Klaeden himself through a separate investigation – also dropped now. “There were insufficient grounds for taking the matter further; the investigation has been dropped,” commented a spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office. Klaeden was being probed for “taking undue advantage” and is now Daimler’s chief of external affairs.
Back in November 2013, weekly magazine Der Spiegel reported on several past meetings between Klaeden and Daimler representatives. He was still involved in politics at the time and concerns arose about the fact that Klaeden had access to three confidential government papers on the planned European Union new auto emissions regulations. The former have been subject of numerous debates between member states and the European automakers, which lobbied to postpone them. In the end, with the help of Germany, the European automakers were successful in obtaining a 12 months delay – the new 95 g/km of CO2 limit would come into effect in 2021, instead of 2020. Germany was especially keen on protecting the domestic premium automakers, which have been reportedly in trouble to meet the increasingly stringent regulations.
Via Automotive News Europe