DThe Thuringia public prosecutor's office has closed the investigation against former CDU member of the Bundestag Mark Hauptmann. The authority announced on Thursday that there was insufficient suspicion for charges to be brought. The 997,000 euros frozen in Hauptmann's account during the course of the investigations by the Thuringia Higher Regional Court have also been released again. The now 38-year-old politician resigned his mandate in March last year and left the party after allegations that he had enriched himself by brokering corona protective masks and had lobbied for the Azerbaijani regime, among other things.
Hauptmann, who represented the region of southern Thuringia in the Bundestag, had repeatedly denied that he had enriched himself by selling masks and even signed the declaration of honor demanded of all MPs by the board of the Bundestag faction at the time, according to which he would not receive any direct or indirect financial benefits from the sale of medical devices to combat the disease of the corona pandemic.
But just a few days later, investigators found what they were looking for. According to them, Hauptmann is said to have received the commission payment through a letterbox company he founded in the Brandenburg tax haven of Zossen and in this way to have circumvented the information on additional income for members of the Bundestag that is required to be published.
The public prosecutor's office said on Thursday that their extensive investigations into the case of the masks provided to authorities and health facilities had substantiated the suspicion that Hauptmann was also using his mandate to work for his own benefit. However, the last dated Federal Court of Justice (BGH) drawn limits for the criminal liability of such a suspicion very narrow.
According to this, only direct work in the plenum, as well as in committees and other parliamentary bodies, falls under the "performing the mandate". It is therefore only punishable if MPs let themselves be bought for a vote. It is not punishable if a member of parliament "uses the proximity to political decision-makers outside of his or her parliamentary competence in order to enforce foreign interests".
Contrary to what the Thuringian investigators originally represented, there is no criminal liability. The same applies to paid advertisements by the Azerbaijani government in Hauptmann's former constituency newspaper. In July, the BGH ruled that the investigations into the former CSU members of the Bundestag Alfred Sauter and Georg Nüßlein, who had also provided masks, did not meet the charge of corruption.
The reason for this is said loophole. Both politicians had each received millions in commission for arranging protective masks. The Thuringian public prosecutor's office agreed with the BGH's view that the Bundestag must decide whether similar cases should be punishable in the future.