Kohl's secret files go missing as auditors investigate Christian Democrat scandal

HELMUT KOHL'S standing was was further eroded yesterday when an independent accountant told an emergency party meeting that files covering the party's financing had gone missing. Confirmation came as Mr Kohl was grilled yesterday for the second time at a closed session of his Christian Democrat leadership.

The former Chancellor, who last week admitted running secret accounts for many years, refused to address the press yesterday. But Wolfgang Schauble, the party's new leader, said Mr Kohl assured them of his readiness to co-operate with the inquiry. Mr Schauble said the Christian Democrats would like to complete the investigation before the end of the year, but the independent accountant from Ernst & Young had been unsure if this was possible. The missing files include those of bank transactions from 1994 to 1996. Mr Kohl's unorthodox banking regime was introduced shortly after he became chancellor in 1982, Mr Schauble confirmed, and were wound up the day he left the party chairmanship last year.

As anger swells among the Christian Democrats, senior figures are urging that the party should come clean quickly. "The party is in a difficult position," Angela Merkel, a former Kohl protege and now General Secretary, told Bild Zeitung. "I believe it would be good if he did everything he could to uncover what happened."

At one Frankfurt bank alone, the party is reported to have kept 17 secret accounts. This is where Horst Weyrauch, the CDU's tax adviser, deposited anonymous donations over several years, and shunted the money about by withdrawing the entire contents and paying the cash into a new account. That left no paper trail, violation of the political funding law.

Mr Weyrauch had also made frequent trips to Switzerland, sometimes twice a week. He told prosecutors he could not remember the purpose of these visits. At least one secret account, which at one point contained DM500,000, has been traced to a Zurich bank. Mr Schauble said yesterday he was unaware of a link between his party and Swiss accounts.

As the investigation drags on behind closed doors, pressure is mounting on Mr Kohl within his party to stand down as an MP. That would avoid a lengthy political battle, should prosecutors in Bonn decide this week to open criminal investigations.

Mr Kohl has admitted publicly that he may have broken party financing laws, but has defended the secret funds as part of his highly personalised style of running the party - suggesting he used the hidden contributions to build loyalty among favoured party officials.

The former Chancellor enjoys parliamentary immunity, which can be lifted only with the agreement of the Bundestag. Parliament has launched an inquiry into his chancellorship.

More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
Life and Style
It is believed that historically rising rates of alcohol consumption have contributed to the increase
food + drink
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
peopleBroadcaster has a new role bringing 'the big stories that matter' to US
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
Moves to regulate e-cigarettes and similar products as medicines come amid increasing evidence of their effectiveness
healthHuge anti-smoking campaign kicks off on Wednesday
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
Arts and Entertainment
Shia LaBeouf is one of Brad Pitt's favourite actors in the world ever, apparently
filmsAn 'eccentric' choice, certainly
footballBut the Newcastle United midfielder's news has 'left his mistress furious'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Marketing Manager - Central London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...

Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

1st Line Service Desk Analyst

£27000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client who are...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Huxley Associates

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Huxley Associates are currentl...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style