Ursula von der Leyen is facing fresh criticism over the wiping of a second mobile phone that could have been used as evidence in a parliamentary inquiry.
The inquiry is looking into the alleged improper awarding of government contracts when von der Leyen was German defense minister.
Lawmakers were informed Monday that all messages had been deleted on a phone that von der Leyen had used until recently. The news comes barely a month after the ministry admitted that another phone previously used by von der Leyen had also been wiped clean of all data. Green Party MP Tobias Lindner filed a criminal complaint over that first deletion of data.
Opposition lawmakers are outraged because they believe both phones could have been crucial evidence in a scandal over lucrative defense ministry contracts that were awarded to outside consultants without proper oversight. The parliamentary committee is investigating whether a network of informal personal connections facilitated those deals, and whether von der Leyen was involved.
Green Party MP Lindner said that the events “required an explanation.” Von der Leyen is scheduled to be questioned by the investigating committee on February 13.
Questions are also being asked about the role of Björn Seibert, a close aide of von der Leyen in German politics and at the Commission.
Seibert agreed on January 3, after news about the wiping of von der Leyen’s phone first emerged, that her other phone could be examined, according to a defense ministry report from Monday.
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