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Cabinet minister in Bonn defends party donations

West German Economics Minister Otto Lambsdorff, facing corruption charges, said Monday he concealed donations to his party from a giant industrial concern, Flick.

He told a parliamentary hearing that while he was a local treasurer for the Free Democratic Party (FDP) in the 1970s, he did not publish donations from Flick as required by law. But he said this was normal practice for political parties. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Count Lambsdorff said he received $9,300 a year from Flick from 1972 to 1977 except in 1973. Party donations of more than $7,400 must be declared, so he had broken down the amounts received from Flick into personal and party contributions to keep them secret, he said.

In a separate development, officials of West Germany's biggest chemical company, Bayer, are being investigated on suspicion of evading taxes on donations to political parties, a spokesman for the Bonn public prosecutor's office said Monday.

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