German prosecutors drop probe of Daimler, Merkel aide

German prosecutors drop probe of Daimler, Merkel aide
Dieter Zetsche, CEO of German auto giant Daimler AG, poses during the company's annual press conference in Stuttgart, southwestern Germany, on February 5, 2015.

STUTTGART - Prosecutors in Berlin on Tuesday said they had dropped an investigation into whether Daimler and its Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche had "granted undue advantage" to a former aide of Chancellor Angela Merkel by hiring the aide.

Prosecutors launched a probe in November 2013 looking at whether Daimler had acted properly when it hired Eckart von Klaeden, a former treasurer of Merkel's Christian Democrats, as chief political lobbyist at Daimler.

Prosecutors were looking at whether Daimler's job offer to Klaeden amounted to anything improper. Prosecutors have also dropped a separate probe against Klaeden himself, Daimler said.

Klaeden, who is now head of external affairs at Daimler, was being investigated for "taking undue advantage." "There were insufficient grounds for taking the matter further; the investigation has been dropped," a spokesman for the prosecutor's office said on Tuesday.

In November 2013, weekly magazine Der Spiegel reported that Klaeden, who was known to have met with Daimler representatives while still in politics, had access to three confidential government papers between January and May 2013 on the European Union's planned regulation of auto emissions.

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