German President’s Home Loan Came From Businessman, Spiegel Says

German President Christian Wulff’s home loan was made with money from a businessman friend and not from the man’s wife as Wulff previously said, Der Spiegel magazine reported.

Wulff said in a statement yesterday that a loan he accepted from Egon Geerkens’s wife, Edith, when he was premier of Lower Saxony state may have created the “wrong impression” and that he has “nothing to hide.”

The loan, which Bild newspaper reported Dec. 13 as being for 500,000 euros ($652,000), came from Geerkens himself via a bank account in his wife’s name for which he had power of attorney, Spiegel said in a preview of an article to be published in next week’s edition, citing the businessman. The president’s office in Berlin had no immediate comment on the report when contacted by telephone today.

Geerkens said that he negotiated the loan with Wulff, before Wulff was elected last year to the mainly ceremonial presidency, and that he sought a way to keep the loan private, according to Spiegel. “I didn’t want some bank trainee seeing that so much money was going to Wulff from me,” Spiegel cited Geerkens as saying.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tony Czuczka at aczuczka@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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