After weeks of controversy over his handling of the future of Deutsche Telekom, the last thing Chancellor Gerhard Schröder needed was another scandal just nine weeks before a general election. But allegations of financial impropriety swirling around Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping forced Schröder to fire him last week. "In my opinion the necessary basis for cooperation in government no longer exists," Schröder said.

Scharping, 54, was ousted after the weekly magazine Stern reported that he had received payments from a public relations agency that has several defense contractors as clients. Scharping admitted he had received €40,000 as part...

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