A fraudster feels remorseful

Despite fraud and criminal offenses : Left Social Senator protected Giffey's husband from expulsion

Berlin's Senator for Social Affairs Elke Breitenbach (left) has apparently protected Karsten Giffey despite serious offenses and established criminal offenses and wanted to save him from being expelled. Initially, the husband of Federal Family Minister Franziska Giffey (SPD) was to be removed from the civil service, but in the end Breitenbach recommended that the veterinarian be downgraded in terms of salary, but should remain in the State Office for Health and Social Affairs (Lageso).

This emerges from the judgment of the Berlin Administrative Court in mid-December, which is now available to the Tagesspiegel. The court had ruled that Giffey could no longer be a civil servant because of the seriousness of the violations. The 28-page verdict provides detailed insights into the processes and the serious offenses granted by Giffey - deliberate, repeated fraud over a longer period of time in terms of service, secondary employment and travel expenses.

A supervisor at the Lageso noticed “a high level of business absences”. Giffey felt offended and said in the autumn of 2016 by email that "this is very hurtful and shows him again that his work is not valued, but rather questioned".

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A short time later, he even reported overloading, the work could not be done, only ten percent of the statutory controls could be managed. His boss found out in December that Giffey was even doing part-time jobs - without a permit. In March 2017, Senator Breitenbach initiated disciplinary proceedings. Giffey's lawyer largely admitted the allegations, but he had quit all part-time jobs.

Investigator recommended: Remove Karsten Giffey from office

For the disciplinary investigator appointed by Breitenbach, the case was clear: In his final report submitted at the end of February 2018, he stated, according to the judgment of the administrative court, that Giffey "had almost completely destroyed the basis of trust for the continuation of the civil servant relationship and that the imposition of the maximum measure would not be disproportionate".

The investigator ended his activity and the senator appointed a new one in March 2018 - a few days before Franziska Giffey, up to then district mayor of Neukölln, rose to become family minister in the federal government of Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU).

Karsten Giffey was absent 54 times in 2016 - without permission

In July 2018, the new investigator demanded payment of around 4650 euros for the damage incurred - for incorrect entries in the timekeeping and costs for a business trip. Giffey paid and was remorseful. The applications for part-time jobs had slipped through him. And because of the conditions in the office, where he lacked recognition and appreciation, he found himself in a personal low.

All of this was credited to him by the new investigator. There was a new final report, in April 2019 Senator Breitenbach raised the disciplinary action. Giffey should now - in contrast to the first investigation report - only be downgraded, but no longer dismissed.

Damage of 3,000 euros

The administrative court saw it differently: Karsten Giffey gave 54 unauthorized lectures and seminars during working hours in 2016. The judges found almost three working weeks of unexcused absence. "The total damage caused by fraud by the defendant is over 3,000 euros and is therefore of considerable importance in itself."

In addition: Karsten Giffey cheated when recording working hours in order to pursue a part-time job during working hours "and thus ultimately to receive remuneration from two positions for this time". Two jobs, double cash.

The Giffey Case - What Happened So Far

The court also did not believe Giffey's assertion that he had found himself in a low: "The defendant acted deliberately and with the intention of enriching himself." Giffey also cheated on an approved business trip: He calculated 300 euros as costs for travel, accommodation and participation in an international one Congress from.

He wasn't there at all and instead cashed in as an expert in his part-time job. Taken together, the repeated misconduct should lead to dismissal, the court found.

The public prosecutor's office has also received the verdict, it is examining several criminal charges against the Senator of Social Affairs Breitenbach - for preventing criminal offenses. Because contrary to the usual practice in the case of crimes committed by civil servants on duty, the Senator refrained from informing the public prosecutor's office about the case of fraud. Allegedly with a view to her planned downgrade.

Karsten Giffey uses his wife to prevent the verdict from being published

The current disciplinary judgment is not yet legally binding, Karsten Giffey has appealed. And he wanted to prevent the 28-page verdict, written “in the name of the people”, from becoming public and going to the press - also in the interests of his wife, as he claims.

This emerges from the decision - available to the Tagesspiegel - with which the administrative court rejected the veterinarian's urgent application at the end of last week. Giffey had argued that the verdict could be an occasion to attack his wife as federal minister in public. Next to him, she was most affected and was “exposed to massive public pressure to comment until justification”.

The court did not follow this. Court judgments are generally public and can only be withheld in rare exceptions, it said. Franziska Giffey, who wants to become head of the SPD, is only indirectly affected by the publication. Her husband's “mere wish” that the judgment does not become public and that “a reference to the applicant's wife, who as Federal Minister is a public figure, is not established” does not represent a higher-ranking interest.

And the resolution also says: The topic will be discussed publicly anyway. Franziska Giffey had declared the case a private matter. On Tuesday she announced again that that said everything.

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