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BERLIN: German prosecutors said on Monday that they are investigating the former chair of public broadcaster ARD over allegations of embezzlement and misuse of public funds.

Patricia Schlesinger, 61, resigned as chair of ARD last week amid claims she awarded controversial consultancy contracts and used public money for private purposes.

She is being investigated on suspicion of embezzlement and taking advantage of her position, Berlin prosecutors told AFP, confirming a report in the Tagesspiegel newspaper.

Schlesinger had held the chairmanship of ARD under a rotational system as head of the local Berlin radio station RBB.

She also resigned from her position at RBB on Sunday.

Schlesinger’s husband, Gerhard Spoerl, a former journalist for Der Spiegel magazine, and Wolf-Dieter Wolf, the head of RBB’s board of directors, are also under investigation.

According to ARD, Schlesinger had been under fire over consultancy contracts awarded at RBB, which she had headed since 2016.

German media have also accused her of using a company car for private trips and paying for meals at home with licence fee money.

ARD is one of the world’s biggest TV and radio networks with an annual budget of almost seven billion euros ($7.1 billion), financed mainly by a licence fee.

It employs around 23,000 people at nine regional channels, which also produce national programmes, and one channel aimed at an international audience.

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