Indian-origin former German lawmaker facing probe for allegedly possessing child pornography has denied any wrongdoing and said he intends to initiate legal proceedings against the state prosecutor’s office for spreading “false information” and “unjustly harassing” him.
Sebastian Edathy, 44, said that he received no warnings about an impending investigation against him. Allegations that Food and Agriculture minister Hans-Peter Friedrich had leaked confidential intelligence information on the Social Democrat (SPD) politician’s link to the child pornography ring when he was the interior minister in October, forced him to step down from chancellor Angela Merkel’s new cabinet on Friday.
Prosecutors said that during their raids on Edathy’s houses and offices on Monday and on Wednesday, they found hardly any evidences needed to raise formal charges against him and they suspected he may have received a tip-off. Edathy in an interview published in the latest edition of the news weekly Der Spiegel denied that he removed any evidences or destroyed them.
Asked why his lawyer contacted the state prosecutor in Hannover long before an investigation against him was launched on February 10, Edathy said he only reacted to the press reports in the middle of last year about Canadian authorities investigating a company as part of an operation to combat child pornography.
When he saw those reports, he remembered that “many years ago” he had received materials from that company, which he considered quite legal, Edathy said. Subsequently, he engaged a lawyer, who took up contacts with several investigating authorities. He denied that his decision on February 7 to leave the Bundestag was because of the investigation against him.
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In another interview, Edathy strongly rejected allegations that he possessed child pornography and accused the authorities of “attempting to tarnish” him by publicly linking his name to child pornography without any concrete evidence. He said he intends to initiate legal proceedings against the state prosecutor’s office in Hannover for “spreading false information” and “unjustly harassing” him. “I never possessed in the past nor I am currently in possession of child pornography,” he said.
The state prosecutor’s office in Hannover, which on Monday opened an investigation against Edathy, said he had received videos and photos of naked boys between 9 and 14 years from the Canadian firm on several occasions during the period between 2005 and 2010.
Edathy, son of a migrant from Kerala, charged that the prosecutor’s office opened an investigation against him without any concrete charges, carrying out raids on his houses and offices last week and publishing photos on the raids.