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German Focus magazine officially apologises to KRG Representative in Germany and issues correction of article creating wrong and misleading impression

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (GOV.KRD) –The German magazine Focus in its latest issue officially expressed its regret and apologised to the KRG Representative in Germany Mr. Dilshad Barzani, for publishing an article in January 2020 that the magazine acknowledges gave a false and misleading impression.

Focus magazine wrote that it regrets the entire process and no longer adheres to the views expressed in the article. Focus Editor-in-Chief Robert Schneider met with Mr. Dilshad Barzani to apologise to him personally.

The magazine explained that in the article headlined The Mysterious Friend (published in issue 5/2020, January 2020, pages 38 and 39), “we wrote, among other things, that opponents of the Barzani family and the KDP apparently live dangerously and, in this context, described two unexplained car accidents in which an investigating magistrate in Iraq who had been pursuing charges of corruption and money laundering was killed and an Iraqi intelligence official in Germany was injured, respectively.”

Focus in its correction wrote that the article could easily give the false impression that Mr. Dilshad Barzani was being investigated for corruption, money laundering, and other crimes, that he attempted to eliminate purportedly unpleasant investigators or members of the opposition, that he intentionally tried to delay or impede investigations based on the good contacts between the Barzani family and the intelligence agencies.

Focus has accepted two preliminary injunctions from Landgericht Berlin (Berlin District Court), which banned the repetition of these and other statements in the article, and has suspended the article in question.

The magazine's Editor-in-Chief Robert Schneider during a meeting with Dilshad Barzani in Berlin apologized to him personally.

The report was repeated abroad to damage the Barzani family, the KDP, and the government overall, Focus magazine wrote in its correction.

Focus magazine published the correction and expressed its regret in its 9th January 2021 issue, under the headline "Focus Report gave a false impression" (page 37, issue 2 of 9.1.2021)

The article attracted considerable attention and indignation from the Kurdish community in Germany and abroad, who complained to the magazine's editors through various communication channels, and some signed a letter calling for the report to be investigated.

Focus’s report relied on information from several Kurds living in Germany.