Mask affair in the CSU: Nüßlein intervened for another company


Status: October 27, 2021 6:00 p.m.

According to research by WDR, NDR and SZ, the CSU MP Nüßlein campaigned for another company at Health Minister Spahn. The deal did not come off, Nüßlein claims not to have received any fee.

By Katja Riedel and Lena Kampf, WDR

It is about an e-mail that the then CSU member of the Bundestag and health expert Georg Nüßlein sent on February 11, 2021 from his MP’s address at 10.30 p.m. He addressed the letter to Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn, whom he addressed as “Dear Jens” and to whom he sent three documents.

Among them: an offer from a Hessian pharmaceutical company. It was about an option contract for a drug against Covid-19. “The active ingredient seems to me to be really promising,” wrote Nüßlein, and he cited other arguments that should speak in favor of signing a contract. “So please look at it benevolently. LG your Georg.”

According to the draft contract, the federal government should support research into the active ingredient with a clinical study and do “everything that is necessary and possible” so that this happens immediately. In addition, the pharmaceutical company wanted to give the Federal Republic of Germany the option in the draft to buy 30,000 “therapy units” of the active ingredient – for 54 million euros.

Deal didn’t go through

Such a contract would have been a huge advertisement for the company and its drug. Nüßlein did not receive a fee, his lawyer emphasized on request. The contract with the ministry did not materialize either. Nüßlein’s lawyer writes that his client did not act as a member of parliament in this, as in other cases.

Nüßlein’s political career ended abruptly: Just a few weeks after he had sent the email to Spahn, he fell over a scandal involving allegations of personal enrichment of politicians in the corona pandemic and questionable mask deals. Politicians are said to have collected high commissions as intermediaries – including Nüßlein. Under pressure from the public, he had to resign from his position as deputy parliamentary group leader, leave his parliamentary group and party and, with the end of the legislature, also give up his mandate in the Bundestag.

Suspicion of bribery of parliamentarians

And there are other consequences: The Munich Public Prosecutor’s Office is investigating a mask sale worth more than 60 million euros to the state. Nüßlein and other accused are under suspicion of bribery of parliamentarians. Nüßlein received a commission of 660,000 euros, but he and the other accused reject any allegation of bribery.

The judiciary arrested the fee. Another outstanding commission of 540,000 euros has not been paid. If the allegation of bribery is not confirmed, the ex-MP could subsequently become a mask millionaire.

Not acted as a MP?

In the mask deals, but also in the case of the now known use of the Covid drug of the Hessian pharmaceutical company, the then CSU parliamentarian does not want to have acted as a member of the parliament, so there would be no bribery of members of the parliament, according to the line of defense of his lawyer. So Nüßlein does not claim to have acted as a member of parliament even in the late evening email to Minister Spahn from his address [email protected]

In the case of the Covid drug, Nüßlein’s personal commitment at Spahn was of no use: Just a few days after he had campaigned for the drug, the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) criticized the Hessian company’s plans in a report to the Federal Ministry of Health . Spahn had called on his specialist departments including the BfArM.

Company pointed to “good connections in politics”

The report sent by the BfArM to the ministry by e-mail on February 15, 2021 states that the pharmaceutical company has repeatedly been advised that the “submitted data are not considered sufficient for various reasons and that the necessary standards in drug development are adhered to and the application on humans cannot be dispensed with “. The pharmaceutical company appeared “relatively brisk and demanding” in a consultation and emphasized “its good connections in politics”.

The Hessian pharmaceutical company announced on request that all “available contacts” had been used to point out the opportunities offered by the new active ingredient in Covid-19. They also wrote “to various politicians in order to attract their attention”. Apparently she had succeeded, because not only CSU health expert Nüßlein, but also other MPs had campaigned for the drug.

Union faction also intervened

Even the CDU / CSU parliamentary group in the Bundestag had already approached the CDU-led Ministry of Health a good six months earlier, in July 2020, and asked the company to speak to Spahn at the “highest suitable point” can. The pharmaceutical company had to be satisfied with discussions with the competent BfArM, which then repeatedly complained about incomplete data. According to the BfArM, the company has not sufficiently proven the effectiveness of the drug overall.

There is now a fundamental dissent between Nüßlein and the Ministry of Health: Nüßlein’s lawyer says that in several cases Spahn is said to have turned to businessman Nüßlein for help. At least that’s what Nüßlein’s lawyer writes when asked by WDR, NDR and SZ. Spahn himself asked Nüßlein several times for support in procurement processes as part of the corona pandemic, and this “expressly outside of the mandate,” explains Nüßlein’s lawyer.

Ministry disagrees

One of these alleged requests for support is said to have overtaken Nüßlein in June 2020. Spahn is said to have offered Nüßlein 30 million FFP2 masks, “which could be delivered directly to South America from China”. A minister who wants to use an MP to get rid of superfluous masks from China in South America? The Ministry of Health presented the matter the other way around on request: Spahn did not approach Nüßlein. Rather, it was the other way around. Nüßlein “offered himself as a mediator in phone calls”.

Neither Spahn nor other representatives of the ministry had ever “actively asked MPs for assistance with reselling”. The only one who “ever offered himself for this purpose was Mr. Nüßlein,” says the ministry.

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