They call it “white gold” but for one German asparagus farmer, it was his workers rather than his crops that enabled him to hit the jackpot.
Authorities in the southwestern region of Bavaria are investigating the farmer on suspicion that he produced illegal voting papers for 400 workers to influence the result of local elections in his family’s favor.
German tabloid Bild reported that Karl Baumann enabled farm workers to illegally get voting papers, despite the fact they were not entitled to vote, to aid his cousin who was running for mayor of the small town of Geiselhoring. His cousin, Herbert Lichtinger, was subsequently_and unexpectedly_ voted mayor in 2014.
German anti-corruption prosecutors investigated the case after Lichtinger’s rival filed a complaint. The elections were invalidated and held again in 2015. Lichtinger won again. He denies falsifying the elections.
Prosecutors said the Romanians did not have the right to vote because they were temporary residents. The Geiselhoring local council sent the court a document saying that according to a 1992 EU law, all community citizens who live in Germany have the right to vote in local elections.
A court is due to make a ruling after the trial was postponed four times.
Rosemarie Baumann, the farmer’s wife, has denied wrongdoing, saying she and her husband had merely engaged in ”the same electoral publicity that other candidates did.”
The Baumanns resigned from the Christian Social Union party after the inquiry began.
Bavaria is a well-known asparagus growing region.