FRANKFURT Jan 6 German prosecutors on Friday
said they had opened an investigation of Kai Diekmann, publisher
of best-selling European tabloid newspaper Bild, days after
parent company Axel Springer announced he had
Diekmann has long been one of the most powerful media
figures in Germany, with his newspaper becoming known for either
making or breaking careers of political leaders and celebrities.
"We have a criminal investigation against Kai Diekmann," a
spokesman for the prosecutor's office in Potsdam, Germany said.
The spokesman declined to give any further details about the
reasons for the investigation involving Diekmann, who became
Bild's publisher after serving as editor in chief from 2001
until the end of 2015.
German weekly Der Spiegel reported on Friday that a Springer
employee had filed a sexual harassment complaint against
Diekmann in Potsdam last year. Reuters was unable to determine
how the matter was resolved or if it related to the criminal
Diekmann declined to comment on both the investigation and
the allegation in the magazine when contacted by Reuters.
His lawyer, Otmar Kury, said the accusations were unfounded.
"We have full confidence in the work of the investigating
authorities," Kury said.
Axel Springer said that it had held its own internal
investigation after an employee came forward with sexual
harassment allegations and, following a "very intensive and
in-depth" investigation, had not found evidence of any criminal
However, the company had alerted the public prosecuters and
passed on its findings, a company spokeswoman said.
The company declined to give further details about its
Springer said last week that Diekmann would leave the
company -- at his own request -- on Jan. 31 this year after more
than 30 years with the company. .
The company did not give a reason for his departure.
(Reporting by Klaus Lauer; Writing by Harro ten Wolde; Editing
by David Evans and David Goodman)