German MP Mark Hauptmann, a member of the ruling coalition of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has resigned following allegations that he was involved in questionable lobbying activity for Azerbaijan, reports the Associated Press citing German media.
Berlin-based daily Die Welt quoted Mark Hauptmann denying that he received money from abroad, but acknowledging that Azerbaijan and other countries paid for advertisements in the “Südthüringer Kurier” newspaper which he publishes. He is accused of publishing anti-Armenian and pro-Azerbaijani publications the newspaper.
The Spiegel weekly had reported that the 36-year-old repeatedly spoke out in favor of the authoritarian, oil-rich nation in the past.
Hauptmann became the third parliamentarian from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s bloc to resign this week amid allegations of corruption, profiting from brokering deals to procure masks early in the pandemic days before crucial regional elections.
Hauptmann who represents the eastern German state of Thuringia, told Die Welt that he was never influenced in his political decisions and that he resigned because of the criticism he has faced, adding: “I want to protect my family.”
Yet he has refused to publish a record of his additional incomes, telling Die Welt he was unable to divulge confidential business information.
The German Spiegel publication reported that the regional newspaper which Hauptmann edits published adverts for events in Azerbaijan such as the 2015 European Games and the 2018 Baku Shopping Festival and spoke out in favor of the authoritarian, oil-rich nation in the past.
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