North Rhine-Westphalia: AfD politicians convicted of misusing titles

Neuss (dpa / lnw) - AfD MEP Gunnar Beck has been fined 9,200 euros for misusing his title.

North Rhine-Westphalia: AfD politicians convicted of misusing titles

Neuss (dpa / lnw) - AfD MEP Gunnar Beck has been fined 9,200 euros for misusing his title. He introduced himself as a professor in Germany. The district court in Neuss found the 57-year-old guilty on Tuesday. It was "a classic case of title abuse," the judge said. "The academic title is protected."

Beck had previously admitted to having said at an appearance before an AfD representative meeting in Magdeburg in 2018: "I am a professor and specialist lawyer for EU law in London." But he didn't want to claim that he had a professor's title, Beck argued on Tuesday.

Rather, he wanted to describe his work as a university teacher, because the public in Germany had nothing to do with his English titles "Reader" and "Barrister at law". "Of course I'm not habilitated," said Beck.

Beck's defense attorneys had previously tried in vain to dismiss the court as having no jurisdiction: Beck had never lived in Neuss, he lives in Brussels and London. The chief public prosecutor argued that he himself gave the Federal Returning Officer Neuss as his place of residence.

Beck's lawyers had applied for an acquittal: At most, Beck had succumbed to an excusable error of law. Beck and his defense attorneys wanted to decide whether to accept the verdict or appeal.

At 9,200 euros, the fine was less than initially requested - Beck had originally received a penalty order of 15,000 euros, against which he had lodged an objection. The law provides for a fine or imprisonment of up to one year for the misuse of titles.

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