Thursday March 25, 2021
Arrest warrant issued in mask affair
In the CDU / CSU affair about business with corona protective masks, the Munich Public Prosecutor’s Office has obtained an arrest warrant against an accused. One of the suspects in the complex had been arrested, said the investigating authority. However, the investigators did not give a name of the suspect.
The public prosecutor’s office had obtained the arrest warrant on Wednesday “because of an urgent suspicion and the existence of a reason for arrest” at the Higher Regional Court in Munich, and the suspect was arrested on Thursday. The usual reason for adhesion in such procedures is the so-called risk of escape and blackout. In addition, the public prosecutor’s office has now, according to its own statements, “initiated measures to safeguard assets on a large scale”. This means that the agency freezes money or other assets that are said to have been earned from the suspected crimes.
In the complex, the attorney general’s office had recently expanded its investigation into five suspects on suspicion of corruption and bribery of elected officials. Among them are Georg Nüßlein, who used to sit in the Bundestag for the CSU, and Alfred Sauter, who has been in the CSU for many years. Both are said to have received high commission payments in connection with mask business. As a spokesman for the Attorney General explained, the arrest warrant is not directed against Sauter or Nüßlein. The other three defendants in the trial are two businessmen and a tax advisor.
Searches at Hauptmann’s
In Thuringia, meanwhile, in the course of the mask affair, the former constituency offices of the former CDU member of the Bundestag Mark Hauptmann and several CDU district offices in southern Thuringia were searched by the LKA. The state association announced that the state criminal investigation office had informed the CDU about the searches. The Thuringian CDU General Secretary Christian Herrgott assured the investigators “unlimited support”.
A preliminary investigation was initiated against the CDU politician on suspicion of bribery of mandate holders in connection with mask business, as announced by the Thuringian Public Prosecutor’s Office. Accordingly, Hauptmann’s living quarters and his Bundestag office were also searched.
The attorney general sees “tangible factual indications” that Hauptmann has demanded commission payments from a company in connection with the mediation of mask deals. He is said to have charged a high six-figure euro amount for his brokerage via a company he founded, which the company is said to have paid for. The company responsible for importing, exporting and trading in care and medical products is being investigated on suspicion of bribery of elected officials.
Another subject of the investigation is Hauptmann’s alleged commitment to the interests of Azerbaijan, Vietnam and Taiwan. It is about paid advertisements in the “Südthüringen Kurier” published by the CDU politician. The Thuringian Higher Regional Court also ordered Hauptmann to be arrested in the amount of 997,000 euros in order to secure illegally acquired money. Hauptmann recently resigned from his Bundestag mandate. The 36-year-old had previously come under fire after lobbying allegations. It later became known that he is said to have brokered corona protective masks from a Frankfurt company to districts.
The affairs plunged the Union parties into a deep crisis. Former CDU member of the Bundestag, Nikolas Löbel, also received a commission for a mask business. He has since resigned from the CDU and resigned his parliamentary mandate. Because of the affair, the CDU and CSU want to tighten the transparency rules for MPs. The SPD is demanding extensive rules for a lobby register, which the Union has blocked so far.