German finance minister commits suicide as coronavirus blitzes economy

Finance minister in home state of Germany’s financial centre commits suicide

FRANKFURT: The finance minister of Germany’s Hesse state Thomas Schaefer committed suicide apparently after becoming worried over the economic fallout from the coronavirus, state premier Volker Bouffier said on Sunday.

Thomas Schaefer, who had led the finance ministry of Hesse for almost ten years, was found dead next to train tracks near Frankfurt, according to a police investigation.

Police and the public prosecutor’s office gave no information on the motive. They said they reached the conclusion he had committed suicide due to extensive crime scene work, the questioning of numerous witnesses, the situation on-site and the technical and forensic evaluations and investigations.

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Schaefer, 54, had been widely expected to succeed Hesse’s prime minister, Volker Bouffier if Bouffier decided not to stand for re-election in 2023.

Bouffier said in a separate statement, We are all shocked and can hardly believe that Thomas Schaefer died so suddenly and unexpectedly.

Regional broadcaster Hessenschau said Bouffier was due to make a public statement on Sunday.