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German president sparks anger over paper threat

German president sparks anger over paper threat
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Germany’s president is under fire for allegedly threatening journalists not to publish a damaging story about his private home loan deal.

According to the popular daily Bild, Christian Wulff said he was ready to “wage war” to prevent publication.

He is reported to have tried to contact its Editor in Chief Kai Diekmann and threatened legal action.

Wulff is also said to have telephoned the CEO of Springer publishing house to ask whether he could exert any influence.

It is a worrying sign for Lutz Tillmanns from the German Press Council: “this attempt to influence Bild and its publications I think this is really alarming. He has chosen a disastrous way. But thank God, Bild did not obey, and they published the report.”

Last week it was reported that Wulff’s and his wife had received a low interest loan of half a million euros from wealthy businessman Egon Geerkens in order to buy a home.

It is an embarrassment for Chancellor Angela Merkel. The holder of the mainly ceremonial post of president is meant to be of impeccable moral standing and to embody a national conscience.