Sauter claims to have found out about the delivery company “rather by chance”
The background to the investigation is Sauter’s role in a multi-million dollar business with corona protective equipment, which a Hessian textile company had sold to the Bavarian state government, among others.
He found out about the delivery company “rather by chance” and then asked the ministry. “In my work as a lawyer, I then drew up the contract, sent it to the parties involved and discussed it – everything about my law firm,” explained Sauter. “As a member of parliament, I was never involved in this matter.”
How much money the CSU politician earned with the drafting of the contract, he did not want to say so far, referring to his legal professional secrecy – to the annoyance of the CSU parliamentary group leader Thomas Kreuzer, who has demanded transparency in the affair.
Initial suspicion for the »bribery of elected officials«
The affair got started by corruption investigations against Sauter’s longtime CSU party friend, member of the Bundestag Georg Nüßlein, who was accused of bribery by the Munich Public Prosecutor’s Office.
According to this, Nüßlein, who like Sauter comes from the Bavarian-Swabian district of Günzburg, is said to have collected 660,000 euros in commission through his consulting company – for brokering activities in connection with the procurement of corona protective equipment, including for the Federal Ministry of Health and the Federal Police. The alleged bribe is said to have flowed through the Liechtenstein account of an offshore company in the Caribbean. Nüßlein denies the corruption allegations.
Investigations are also being carried out against the entrepreneur Thomas Limberger from Hesse, through whose company the commission payments are said to have been processed, and the CSU-affiliated lobbyist Michael Kraess from Munich.
The public prosecutor’s office sees an initial suspicion for the “bribery of elected officials” in both businessmen. While Nüßlein denies the allegations, Limberger’s media lawyer left a SPIEGEL query on the allegations unanswered. Lobbyist Kraess has not yet been available to comment – as has Bavaria’s ex-Justice Minister Sauter.
The expansion of the investigation to the Christian social veteran Sauter harbors political explosives for CSU boss Markus Söder: After the resignations of Nikolas Löbel, Mark Hauptmann and a party donation affair in Thuringia, politicians of the sister party CDU were the focus of criticism, the focus of the criticism Affair now back to the CSU.
And also in his role as Bavarian Prime Minister, Söder is likely to have questions. For example, how the contract for the delivery of masks to the Bavarian Ministry of Health, drawn up by Sauter – quite privately – came about.
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Corona mask affair Investigations Bavarias exJustice Minister Alfred Sauter CSU