German ex-finance minister Schaeuble's grave desecrated, police say

FILE PHOTO: Former German Finance Minister Schaeuble is laid to rest in Offenburg

BERLIN (Reuters) - The grave of former German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble was found desecrated on Monday, police in his hometown of Offenburg said.

Cemetery staff found a hole dug in the grave of the conservative politician when they arrived for work. Schaeuble, who died in December, was among Europe's most influential politicians for a quarter of a century.

"An unknown person dug a funnel-shaped hole around 1.20 metres deep," police said in a statement. "It nonetheless appears that they did not get down as far as the deceased's coffin."

Police said they were investigating but had no indications as to the motive. There has been an uptick in violence against German politicians ahead of European Parliament elections next month.

A political high-flyer who was pipped at the post for the conservative leadership by Angela Merkel, Schaeuble became famous as a fierce guardian of Germany's purse strings who imposed strict bail-out conditions on Greece during the euro zone's debt crisis.

(Reporting by Thomas Escritt; editing by Christina Fincher)