Welteke resigns over hotel stay

Ernst Welteke, the president of Germany’s central bank, has resigned following investigations into a hotel stay paid for by Dresdner Bank.

The row started after a news magazine reported that Mr Welteke and his family accepted a 7,600-euro ($9,200; £5,000) free stay in Berlin’s top Adlon Hotel.

Mr Welteke was at a celebration of the euro’s first year as a cash currency.

Germany’s government has dismissed opposition calls for an inquiry into charges it leaked letters with details.

The opposition Christian Democrat party is accusing the Finance Ministry of starting the story about the Bundesbank chief, by leaking hotel bills and other documents to the news magazine Der Spiegel.

But a government spokesman rejected the allegation as “fantasy”.

The Bundesbank board said the resignation was appropriate “with regard to the reputation of the institution and the exercise of its responsibilities”.

A statement from Mr Welteke following his resignation said the German central bank had been subjected to “irresponsible pressure”, particularly by the Finance Ministry.

“The board in particular is being subjected to irresponsible pressure,” he said.

“The relationship of trust between the federal Finance Ministry and myself has been irreparably destroyed.”

At 61, he has spent 4-1/2 years as Bundesbank President after rising through the Social Democrat ranks and in the first half of the 1990s served under Hans Eichel, Hesse state premier at the time.

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