Famous German journalist who praised Putin received 600 thousand euros from Kremlin-linked oligarch - investigation
Journalist and TV presenter Hubert Seipel, who has long been considered one of Germany's leading independent experts on Russia, received at least 600,000 euros from companies linked to oligarch Alexei Mordashov. He is a Russian steel and banking magnate who has been subject to Western sanctions for his close ties to the Kremlin.
Mordashov is known as a member of Putin's elite. According to media sources, he was part of a select group of business leaders who gathered in the Kremlin on February 24, 2022, a few hours after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops. The fact that Mordashov's companies transferred large sums of money to Seipel was reported by the Cyprus Confidential project of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and the German newspaper Paper Trail Media. The authors shared the materials with their reporting partners, including The Guardian.
It turned out that the writer, who has been widely criticized for his sympathies for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, received at least 600,000 euros in undisclosed offshore payments.
Investigators said the money was supposed to support the journalist's work on two German-language books: "Putin: The Logic of Power" (2015) and "Putin's Power: Why Europe Needs Russia" (2021). Both were released after biographical films made by Seipel and are complimentary of the Russian president.
Seipel is one of the few journalists in the world who has had direct and regular contact with the Russian leader. By his own admission, he has met with the Kremlin leader "almost 100 times."
After the publication of the investigation, the German writer admitted that he had indeed received money from accounts linked to oligarch Mordashov. The man did not comment on the amount.
He claims that this money is "support for exclusively book projects," and he allegedly remained impartial. "I have always set clear legal boundaries that guaranteed my independence," Seipel assured.
Seipel's publisher, Hoffmann und Campe, said it had no knowledge of the payments. "If this is confirmed, we reserve the right to take further action with respect to the books that were contracted by management in 2013 and 2016, respectively, based on the television documentary," a spokesperson for the firm told reporters.
The NDR television company (where the German journalist's films about Putin were broadcast) also said it was unaware of the sponsorship deal. They claim to have taken the allegations "very seriously" and blocked access to Seipel's films until further notice.
"Mr. Seipel should have informed [NDR] of a possible conflict of interest, such as a payment," the company emphasized.
As OBOZ.UA wrote, The Economist magazine recently released a cover with the expected trends of 2024. The main topics were the war in Ukraine and the US elections.