Bloomberg News

Ex-German Defense Chief Guttenberg Settles Plagiarism Probe

November 23, 2011

(Updates with lawyer comment in sixth paragraph.)

Nov. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Former German Defense Minister Karl- Theodor zu Guttenberg settled a criminal probe into allegations he plagiarized passages of his doctoral thesis, agreeing to pay 20,000 euros ($26,800) to a charity.

Prosecutors in Hof, Germany, investigated the case and found 23 “criminally relevant” passages in the thesis, the investigators said in an e-mailed statement today. They received 199 complaints asking them to look into the allegations.

“In elaborate research, prosecutors and police investigated the complete doctoral thesis,” prosecutors said. “Not all passages that were copied reached the level of works protected under copyright laws.”

Guttenberg resigned in March over the issue, depriving Chancellor Angela Merkel of her most popular cabinet member in an election year. The University of Bayreuth had awarded the doctorate in law, with the highest grade “summa cum laude.” The school revoked it on Feb. 24, as Guttenberg said passages that appeared to be copied from other texts weren’t the result of conscious deception.

Guttenberg in February admitted to “grave” mistakes in compiling his 2006 thesis.

“We’re very content with the outcome," his lawyer Klaus Leipold said today.

--Editors: Anthony Aarons, Christopher Scinta

To contact the reporter on this story: Karin Matussek in Berlin at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at

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