AfD MEP Gunnar Beck should pay a fine of 9,200 euros after a court decision. The reason is that he introduces himself as a "professor" at a meeting of party members. But he doesn't have the title. Beck points out differences in title designations in Germany and England, where he teaches.
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. 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." However, Beck argued that he did not want to claim that he had a professorship.
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 lower 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.