Former German president Christian Wulff is to appear before a court on charges of accepting benefits as a public official, sources told DPA on Tuesday.
Prosecutors in Hanover filed corruption charges in April against Wulff, who was appointed to the largely ceremonial post of president in July 2010 and stepped down in February 2012 amid corruption claims and official moves to lift his immunity.
If convicted, Mr. Wulff could face a jail sentence of up to three years. The court hearing is expected to begin on November 1.
The prosecutors’ move against Mr. Wulff comes as Germany enters the run-up to an election on September 22.
Mr. Wulff is alleged to have accepted partial payment for a stay in a luxury hotel during the 2008 Oktoberfest in Munich from a film producer friend, David Groenewold, whom he later helped by lobbying the conglomerate Siemens to provide money for a movie Mr. Groenewold was then making.
The hotel costs paid for by Mr. Groenewold amounted to 770 euros, newspaper Die Welt said.
Mr. Wulff (54) who has strongly denied the accusations, was at the time the premier of the state of Lower Saxony.
Earlier this year, Mr. Wulff ruled out a deal with public prosecutors where he would pay a fine of 20,000 euros in exchange for having the charges dropped.
Instead, he has vowed to fight the claims in court in a bid to clear his name.
At the time, prosecutors said it was probable that Mr. Groenewold’s payment of hospitality in Munich “was done with the intention of encouraging the accused Wulff to use his office as premier of Lower Saxony to approach Siemens for support in the marketing of the film John Rabe.” Hamburg-born John Rabe was a Siemens official in China who is credited with saving the lives of more than 200,000 Chinese people during the Japanese invasion in 1937.
Mr. Groenewold’s film was released in 2009. It was a critical, but not commercial success.