BERLIN -- Berlin prosecutors are investigating ex-German state minister Eckart von Klaeden over a potential conflict of interest after Chancellor Angela Merkel's former ally joined Daimler as a lobbyist.
Klaeden, a former treasurer of Merkel's Christian Democrats, said in May that he would quit the government after Germany's Sept. 22 national elections to take up the position of chief political lobbyist at Daimler. He joined Daimler on Nov. 1.
Germany weekly magazine Der Spiegel reported on Sunday, without citing any source, that Klaeden, who was known to have met with Daimler representatives while still in politics, had access to three confidential government papers between January and May 2013 on the EU's planned regulation of auto emissions.
Germany last month blocked an agreement among EU member states to cap car emissions, arguing the plan would cost jobs and hurt premium carmakers such as Daimler's Mercedes-Benz brand as well as BMW and Audi.
A spokeswoman for the Berlin prosecutors told Reuters on Sunday that an anonymous complaint has been filed against Klaeden with prosecutors, who are investigating on the grounds of a potential acceptance of benefits.
Daimler said it had no doubts about Klaeden's integrity. "We're looking forward to the prosecutor's investigation with great equanimity and have absolutely no doubts about the integrity of Eckart von Klaeden," Joerg Howe, a spokesman for Daimler, said. The investigation by the Berlin prosecutor's office was triggered by an anonymous report, he said.
Bloomberg contributed to this report