German university confirms plagiarism by former minister

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The German university of Bayreuth Friday said former defence minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg had deliberately plagiarised his doctoral thesis, a charge which led to his resignation in March.

Zu Guttenberg, 39, formerly the most popular minister in Angela Merkel's cabinet, had admitted to "serious mistakes" in his 2006 legal dissertation when the matter was first revealed by the press.

He asked the southern German university to withdraw his doctor title, but denied cheating.

A university committee set up in the wake of the affair to look at the allegations found that "the standards of good scientific practice were obviously grossly abused and it was obvious that plagiarism was involved."

Opinion polls have suggested zu Guttenberg remains popular in Germany where his Christian Social Union (CSU) party, sister party to Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), would like him to return to politics.

© 2011 AFP

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