Merkel Politician Investigated over Money Transfers Dies on Flight from Cuba

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BERLIN (AP) – A lawmaker with German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party has died after collapsing on a plane during a flight home to Germany.

Karin Strenz, 53, was flying back from Cuba with her husband, said Eckhardt Rehberg, a fellow lawmaker with their centre-right Christian Democratic Union party, according to news agency dpa.

The plane made an emergency landing in Ireland, but rescuers were unable to save Strenz, Rehberg said late Sunday. It was unclear what the cause of death was or why she had travelled to Cuba.

The German parliament’s lower house, the Bundestag, said Monday she wasn’t travelling on official parliamentary business.

Prosecutors in Schwerin said they had opened an investigation to determine the cause of her death, standard practice in such cases, and would request assistance from Ireland. They said they expect that an autopsy will be conducted in Ireland.

Strenz had been a member of the German parliament since 2009, representing a constituency in the north-eastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

She didn’t plan to seek re-election in Germany’s Sept. 26 election. Early last year, Strenz and another lawmaker were targeted in raids by prosecutors investigating alleged money transfers from Azerbaijan.

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