German politics rocked by new plagiarism probe

Silvana Koch-Mehrin - file pic Silvana Koch-Mehrin is seen as a rising star in the Free Democrats (FDP)

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A senior German liberal politician, Silvana Koch-Mehrin, is under scrutiny for possible plagiarism in her university thesis, echoing the scandal that hit the former defence minister.

The University of Heidelberg is re-examining Ms Koch-Mehrin's academic work on currency unions. She is a vice-president of the European Parliament.

The MEP, a leading member of the Free Democrats (FDP), allegedly failed to source the 227-page thesis properly.

The FDP is in the ruling coalition.

An investigative website called VroniPlag Wiki raised doubts about Ms Koch-Mehrin's 2001 thesis, called Historical Currency Unions between the Economy and Politics.

She has not yet commented on the allegations.

The same website exposed plagiarised passages in the doctoral thesis of Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, who resigned as defence minister on 1 March after being stripped of his PhD.

Mr Guttenberg is a member of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU).

The University of Bayreuth, which had awarded him the doctorate, concluded that he had "violated scientific duties to a considerable extent".

He has said he will not try to block publication of the university's findings about his thesis.

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