The Federal Ministry of Justice was successful with a lawsuit against media statements by the Osnabrück public prosecutor’s office shortly before the 2021 federal election. The administrative court there found that parts of a press release were incorrect and may not be repeated in the future, as a court spokeswoman said on Wednesday. It was about a report from the public prosecutor’s office after a controversial investigative measure in the Federal Ministry of Justice. At the time, critics had suspected an election campaign maneuver.
According to the spokeswoman, the justice department wanted to use the complaint to the administrative court to have the term search in the notification described as illegal. In addition, a quote from a spokesman for the authorities should not be allowed to be repeated in the future. In both cases, the court agreed with the ministry.
The background was investigations into suspicion of thwarting criminal prosecution: the special unit of customs against money laundering (FIU) is said not to have forwarded suspicious activity reports to the investigating authorities in all cases. Investigators obtained a search warrant from the District Court. However, the district court in Osnabrück has subsequently repealed this because it did not consider the necessary prerequisites to be in place.
According to the current verdict, the measure in autumn 2021 was not a search because documents were released voluntarily. In addition, according to the court, the cited quote was wrong at the time it was published. It gave the impression that the ministry was not willing to provide administrative assistance.
It is therefore a question of damage to the reputation of the ministry. The judgment is not final, an application for admission of an appeal is possible.