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Cocaine Traces In German Parliament Toilets

Enough cocaine to knock out a drug-sniffing dog has been found in smears taken from the walls of the German Parliament according to the German television investigative programme, Akte 2000. John Howard reports.

A report suggesting habitual consumption of cocaine in the German federal Parliament buildings has sent waves through German political circles yesterday.

Commercial television station SAT.1 set off the investigation Wednesday, when it reported that it had taken smear samples from the surfaces of 28 of Parliament's toilets, which were then sealed and sent to the Nuremberg Institute for Biomedicine and Pharmaceutical Research.

Of the 28 samples, 22 tested positive for cocaine said SAT.1

A spokeswoman for the Bundestag, the lower House of Parliament, reacted by describing the report as an "unbelievable story" but said it would have to be checked out, while the Berlin prosecutor's office said it would be asking for the documents in the case.

The speaker, Wolgang Thierse, told German radio, " If there is anything in this accusation then that is a clear offence and the state prosecutor's office must deal with it."

According to SAT.1, the samples that tested positive came exclusively from washrooms not open to visitors, although they were open to Parliamentary staff, journalists and other people invited by MP's.

In their probe of cocaine use in Germany investigators for the SAT 1 Atke 2000 programme also found traces of cocaine in the regional Parliament building, a top class hotel and the stock exchange.

The cover story of the news weekly Der Speigal this week is, "The Cocaine Society."

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