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German premier backs up top ministers under fire

West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt expressed full confidence in two senior ministers being investigated for suspected bribery, and the government began a campaign to clear their names.

An official statement said Finance Minister Hans Matthofer, Economics Minister Otto Lambsdorff, and Mr. Schmidt's chancellery chief of staff, Manfred Lahnstein, had given the chancellor written declarations of innocence.

The Bonn prosecutor's office announced on Friday that the three were among nine senior politicians and businessmen under investigation in an investigation involving tax write-offs and party political contributions. Noting that the investigation was based on a preliminary suspicion, Mr. Schmidt said he saw no grounds for a government shuffle.

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