German MP investigated for ‘bribery’ over mask contract

German MP investigated for 'bribery' over mask contract
Georg Nüßlein (CSU). Photo: DPA
An MP from German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative alliance faced allegations of bribery on Thursday over a government contract awarded to a company to supply medical masks during the first Covid-19 wave.

The Bundestag lower house of parliament lifted the immunity of Georg Nuesslein, an MP for the CSU, the Bavarian sister party of Merkel’s CDU party, and authorised search orders against him.

“In the Nuesslein case, the judiciary must now do its job,” Marco Buschmann of the liberal FDP party, a member of the Bundestag’s immunity committee, wrote on Twitter.

Thirteen properties in Germany and in Liechtenstein were to be searched as part of the investigation on Thursday, a spokesperson for the Munich prosecution said.

The investigations are over suspicion of “bribery and corruption of mandate holders” related to “the purchase of coronavirus medical masks”, the spokesman told AFP.

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Another person is also under investigation, the spokesman said, without giving details of the suspect’s identity.

Nuesslein’s office did not immediately respond to AFP’s request for comment.

According to German media, Nuesslein is accused of lobbying the government on behalf of a supplier of medical masks last spring, resulting in a large order.

Subsequently, the MP allegedly billed the supplier €660,000 for his role as an intermediary, Spiegel reported, adding that “the funds were apparently transferred”.

The Bild daily reported that the funds were transferred to a company of which Nuesslein was the managing director. But no tax declaration was made on the revenues.

“If there is even the suspicion that a member of the German Bundestag personally benefited from the corona crisis, then this is a very serious, grave accusation that must be comprehensively clarified,” Social Democrat politician Katja Mast wrote on Twitter, adding the hashtag “#Nuesslein”.

Nuesslein, 51, has been a member of the Bundestag since 2002 and represents the Neu-Ulm constituency.

READ MORE: How Germans have embraced FFP2 masks


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