German Prime Minister suspected of laundering Russian money
In 2013, being Germany's Minister of Finance, Markus Söder approved a deal for the sale of state apartments in Bavaria for 2.5 billion euros.
German Prime Minister Markus Söder was suspected of facilitating money laundering from Russia, InoPressa reports citing the German media. The newspaper Handelsblatt believes that in 2013 Söder, who held the post of Minister of Finance, gave a green light to the deal on selling 32.000 apartments for 2.5 billion euros between the Society of Non-Commercial Real Estate in Bavaria (GBW) and the German consortium of investors Patrizia Immobilien AG. Partizia is associated with two companies that received from Russia funds of unknown origin, and then sent them to Russia in a similar volume.
Söder ostensibly did not disclose all the details of the suspicious transaction. The Minister of Finance assured that Patrizia was "a Bavarian enterprise with very serious partners, among which there are banks, insurance companies and investors". That said, he claimed that he did not know all the investors, because their names were confidential.
Handelsblatt pens that the documents, including the replies of the ministries to relevant inquiries, link the consortium with the companies the newspaper calls A. GmbH and M. GmbH. These enterprises allegedly received millions of euros from Russia and Cyprus, which were partly returned back. The Director of M. GmbH was Russian Alexander Rykov (the paper changed the name), who also acted as an agent of A. GmbH.
Six months before the described transaction, on November 22, 2012, the German Tax Police Department got an anonymous message about the suspicion of money laundering. According to the statement, Patrizia consortium sold "a significant number of real estate objects of customers from the territory of the former USSR." The report also mentioned the company A. GmbH.
The investigation found that the origin of the money that Patrizia received was unknown. The investigators demanded that the Prosecutor General's Office continue the investigation, but the agency did not take any steps, since the case allegedly featured only "vague initial data and assumptions."
Handelsblatt deems that many departments were cognizant of suspicions concerning Patrizia, in particular, the Prosecutor's Office, customs and the federal tax police administration. The deal could be suspended, but it was given a move. Bank Bayern LB assured that the consortium was tested for the legalization of criminal proceeds. However, in this case, Minister Söder should have known the names of investors, but he still claims that this is not the case.