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Officials Check Stasi Links in Death

March 22, 2000 GMT

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) _ With new evidence emerging about the lengths East Germany’s secret police were willing to go to against suspected enemies, Berlin prosecutors said Wednesday they may exhume the body of a soccer star who died in a mysterious auto accident after defecting to the West.

An initial investigation into the death of Lutz Eigendorf and suspected links with the communist secret police _ or Stasi as they were known _ was dropped in 1993 ``for lack of evidence,″ said Martin Steltner, spokesman for the prosecutors’ office.

Police reopened the case in 1998 after new information was found in other Stasi files. Prosecutors are now following up on witness information and have reason to suspect he may have been poisoned. ``It is also being checked if possibly an exhumation of the deceased might promise success,″ Steltner added.

The revelation comes days after the government office reconstructing secret police files said the Stasi used radioactive chemicals to track dissidents’ movements.

On March 5, 1983, the 26-year-old Eigendorf left his usual bar and crashed his Alfa Romeo into a tree. He died three days later.

Investigators are trying to determine if someone caused him to get intoxicated with alcohol and later shined a ``sudden blinding light″ into his eyes while he was driving to cause the accident, Steltner said by telephone.

The daily Berliner Zeitung newspaper on Wednesday said tests showed he had a blood alcohol content far above the legal limit. But the newspaper, quoting an investigative report being broadcast by ARD national television late Wednesday, said a recently found Stashi document mentions using chemicals during soccer games, ``such as gas or poison.″

The document continues by mentioning something that ``leads to death in the long run.″ And a few lines later it cryptically mentions ``accident statistics? made unconscious from outside? blinding light?″

Eigendorf who played for BFC Dynamo in East Berlin, defected to West Germany in 1979 during a match in Kaiserslautern in southwestern Germany. He played there until 1982, when he switched to Braunschweig, about 50 miles west of the old East German border.