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Leading expert of Russia in Germany receives at least €600,000 from Russia

Wednesday, 15 November 2023, 08:11

German journalists have found evidence of Russian funding for Hubert Seipel, a pro-Kremlin ARD journalist considered one of Germany's leading Russia experts.

Source: a joint investigation by Spiegel and ZDF, as reported by European Pravda

Details: Hubert Seipel has positioned himself as one of the best experts on Putin's Russia and a Western journalist with nearly the best access to the Russian president.


Seipel published a documentary about Gazprom in 2009 when his first meeting with Putin occurred. Seipel said he spent the night at Putin's residence and played pool with him in the evening.

Seipel said he has met with Russian President Vladimir Putin about a hundred times since then, including accompanying him on a hunting trip to Siberia, filming him playing hockey, practising judo and swimming, and writing two books about Russia and Putin.

Seipel aired a half-hour prime-time interview with Putin in November 2014.

In the final weeks before 24 February 2022, Seipel claimed that NATO "surrounds Putin" and said he was confident that the Russian President would not start a war.

Journalists got leaked files, known as Cyprus Confidential, a few months ago.

There was evidence that Seipel had received generous funding from Russia since at least 2018 to write a book, Putin's Power: Why Europe Needs Russia, published in 2021.

"The author is preparing a book about the political environment in the Russian Federation, which should be published in 2019. The sponsor wishes to support the project's development... and make it more accessible to a wide audience through supporting the author," the contract said. Also, Seipel was promised "logistical and organisational support" during information gathering in Russia.

According to this contract, Seipel was supposed to receive €600,000 in three instalments during 2018-2020, but finally, the money was paid in two – €200,000 in April 2018 and €400,000 in April 2019.

Another point in the contract suggested that there was a similar sponsorship contract in 2013 for Putin's biographical book. A reputable German publishing house published both.

De Vere Worldwide Corporation, a company registered in the Virgin Islands, paid the money. The company's real owner is believed to be Russian oligarch Alexei Mordashov. In particular, before the funds were transferred to Seipel, money from other Mordashov firms had entered the company's accounts.

Seipel insisted that the money received from Russia did not influence how he talked about Russia on ARD and his books.

Background: Gerhard Schröder, former German Social Democrat Chancellor, known for his friendship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, claimed that the US had supposedly disrupted "peace talks" between Ukraine and Russia at the beginning of the full-scale invasion and that Kyiv had invited him to mediate.

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