German businessman probed in Leuna refinery affair

Published October 31st, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

The Saarbruecken prosecutor's office said Monday that an investigation had been opened into the German businessman Dieter Holzer for money laundering in relation to the suspect privatisation of the East German oil refinery at Leuna. 


The sale to the French oil group Elf of the refinery and the Minol chain of service stations is believed to have been accompanied by bribes, and Holzer served as an intermediary. 


Among the beneficiaries of the bribes are alleged to be the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the party of former chancellor Helmut Kohl who was in power at the time of the privatisation in 1992. 


In a press statement, the Saarbruecken prosecutor's office said it would immediately be requesting assistance with the inquiry from the relevant French authorities. 


Holzer, who was a lobbyist for Elf, is also wanted by the French authorities. He has taken refuge in his home region of the Saarland bordering France.  


He is believed, along with Pierre Lethier, a former French secret service agent, to have benefitted from commissions worth between 80 and 90 million marks ($35 to 39 million , 41 to 46 million euros) paid to facilitate the privatisation operation. 


Prosecutor Josef Pattar said they would be examining the movement of money by Holzer on to bank accounts in Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and Lebanon.—AFP. 

©--Agence France Presse. 


© 2000 Mena Report (

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