Wulff admits mistake, vows not to resign

Wulff admits mistake, vows not to resign

Wulff admits mistake, vows not to resign

Christian Wulff. AP photo

German President Christian Wulff admitted Jan. 4 making a “grave mistake” by trying to stop a paper publishing an embarrassing story about a home loan, but said he had no plans to resign.

Wulff had remained silent since news broke Jan. 2 that he had left a voicemail message last month for the editor of top-selling German daily Bild in which he threatened “war” if the paper published the article on his low interest-rate home loan.

With pressure growing for him to step down, he arranged an interview with German public television stations ARD and ZDF on Jan. 4 to try to calm the storm. “The call to the chief editor of Bild was a grave mistake, for which I am sorry and for which I apologize,” Wulff said, adding he had not done everything right, but had broken no laws.

Asked whether he had considered resigning in the past few days, Wulff said: “No, because I had great support in the past weeks from many citizens, my friends and employees.” Earlier Jan. 3, Merkel gave her backing to the 52-year-old conservative career politician and former state premier from Lower Saxony.

The daily reported for the first time on Dec. 13 that Wulff received a $650,000 private loan from the wife of a wealthy businessman and friend, apparently at below market rates, in 2008. He used the money to buy a house. At the time, he was governor of Lower Saxony state. Months before he became president in 2010, regional opposition lawmakers asked Wulff if he had business relations with longtime friend Egon Geerkens, a former jeweler and investor. He said he hadn’t, failing to mention the loan from Geerkens’ wife. Prosecutors have said they see no evidence of a criminal offense regarding the loan and won’t investigate.

Compiled from Reuters and AP stories by the Daily News staff.