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Bishop of Limburg pays fine, rather than contest perjury charges

Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst (PA)

The Bishop of Limburg, known as the ‘Bishop of Bling’, agreed to pay a fine of 20,000 euros rather than contest charges that he perjured himself before the Hamburg District Court.

The court press office announced on Monday that Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst had paid the fine, which is just under £17,000. Hamburg prosecutors had charged him with lying to the court in a case involving the magazine Der Spiegel.

The bishop had sued for an article alleging that he had flown first class on a trip to India for charity work when he told a Der Spiegel reporter that he flew business class. Although the bishop denied that he said he flew business class, the reporter had a recording of his words.

Pope Francis ordered Bishop Tebartz-van Elst to leave the Diocese of Limburg pending a separate investigation into allegedly exorbitant expenditures for his residence and diocese centre. A commission appointed by the German bishops’ conference is conducting an audit of the project.