It’s been revealed a group of police officers in Leipzig, Germany have been under investigation for several months for their involvement in a criminal conspiracy to sell confiscated bicycles.
Adding to the scandal, Saxony interior minister Roland Woller, of the CDU, is facing calls to resign for not publicly disclosing the investigation was ongoing for over six months, which has produced allegations of a coverup at the highest levels of the state government.
Up to a dozen officials are said to have resold around 1,000 high-quality bicycles from the evidence room
8.000 Std. mussten von der ersten Info ans Ministerium (8. Juli 2019, Meldung an SMI laut MoPo-Recherche) vergehen, bis sich Wöller zu Wort meldet. Er "nimmt den Korruptionsskandal erst seit der aktuellen Berichterstattung ernst.", fasst es @kerstinkoeditz zusammen. #Fahrradgate pic.twitter.com/lx3sBpRl4n— DIE LINKE. Sachsen (@linke_sachsen) June 24, 2020
Woller has claimed he kept schtum as he didn’t want to influence an ongoing investigation, and his purview in any event doesn’t include public relations. Still, he has condemned the criminal scheme in the strongest terms.
“The damage was immense, the events inexcusable, the first consequences have already been drawn and I hope it’ll be promptly resolved,” he said.
Green interior spokesperson Valentin Lippmann said he saw a pressing and urgent need for the interior committee to be fully informed of the scope of the investigation, and why Woller’s counterparts in other parties weren’t apprised of its existence.
“The fact that the interior minister refuses to answer journalists' questions at the state press conference and then holds a pro forma press conference is more likely to stir up suspicion,” Dippmann added.
According to local media reports, Leipzig’s police had internally warned at the end of 2019 "sooner or later” information could become public and citizens were likely to be "scandalized" due to the "number of officials affected and measures taken".