Munich (dpa) – In the Union mask affair, former Bavarian Justice Minister Alfred Sauter has given up all party offices.
These are, in particular, his seats on the board and presidency of the CSU, the chairmanship of the financial committee of the CSU and the district chairmanship of the CSU in Günzburg. Sauter announced this on Sunday. At the same time, he announced that he would put his membership of the parliamentary group on hold.
The Munich Public Prosecutor’s Office is investigating Sauter over an initial suspicion of corruption. He has denied the allegations through his attorney. The investigations concern the state’s purchase of corona-protective masks – and in connection with allegations of corruption against Bundestag member Georg Nüßlein, who, like Sauter, is also from the Swabian district of Günzburg.
Immediately after the corruption investigation became known, the CSU party leadership around chairman Markus Söder and secretary general Markus Blume asked Sauter to give up his party positions and threatened him, at least indirectly, with a party expulsion procedure. The highest parliamentary group also threatened Sauter with expulsion from the parliamentary group and issued an ultimatum on Sunday afternoon to “plausibly and understandably dispel the allegations against him.” A possible exclusion must be decided in the new week.
Sauter turned down the ultimatum on Sunday. He wrote to group chairman Thomas Kreuzer that the investigation into this case is now a matter for the public prosecutor’s office. “It is common for the suspect not to speak publicly during an ongoing prosecution investigation, and it is a rule of law to respect this.” He therefore asked for your understanding that he would not speak in public now, nor would he discuss details with the party and the parliamentary group.
“In order to ensure that the parliamentary group and our party can no longer be discredited for the charges brought against me, I have decided to suspend my membership of the group until the end of the proceedings,” wrote Sauter and added: “I do this although I am convinced that I have in no way violated my parliamentary duties and laws.” There is no reason for further action on the side of the group. “Exclusion from the parliamentary group would be a final measure that would be completely disproportionate given that the allegation of wrongdoing has not been proven,” Sauter warned his group.
Sauter announced at the beginning of this month that he had signed a contract with a company to supply corona masks to the Bavarian Ministry of Health. “ With regard to the public charge of a sum of money paid in addition to the attorney’s fee, it was decided from the outset to use the net income remaining after all taxes for charity, which was insured by family members and myself. , ‘he said Thursday. He did not explain what extra money was involved.
The CSU leadership wants to draw extensive conclusions from the mask affair. Party leader Markus Söder and Secretary General Markus Blume wanted to hold a press conference on Sunday afternoon. It is about “fundamental consequences of the misconduct of individual elected officials”. It was reported from CSU circles that Söder wanted to present a comprehensive package of measures to make a clear cut. There will be hard and clear rules for the future.
Most recently, Thursday, Bundestag CSU member Tobias Zech announced his withdrawal from the Bundestag due to potential “conflicts of interest”. The resignation has nothing to do with the affair surrounding corona protective masks. Rather, the background is allegations of merging mandate and entrepreneurial activities.