“Putin. “An Inside Look at Power” and “Putin’s Power.” “Why Europe Needs Russia” These are the names of two books that Hubert Seipel (73) wrote about Putin. In this Seipel primarily targets the West; There is hardly any criticism of Russia. So far, this has not troubled the owners of licensed stations ARD and WDR; Seipel has repeatedly appeared on stations financed with mandatory contributions.
But now previously secret business deals reveal: The Putin expert received lots of money from Russia. A research consortium of several media outlets claims the deal was brokered through well-known oligarch Alexei Mordashov, in which ORF and ZDF also took part.
According to these documents, it is alleged that Seipel signed a contract in March 2018 with De Vere Worldwide Corp, a shell company based in the British Virgin Islands.
The company’s beneficial owner is Igor Voskresensky, a close confidant of Mordashov, chairman of the board of steel giant Severstal. The EU put him on a sanctions list in 2022 because of his close ties to those in power in the Kremlin. He is said to be one of the richest citizens of Russia. The contract is dated March 16, 2018 and bears Seipel’s signature.
When asked, Seipel did not deny in a lengthy answer that he had received money from Mordashov, ORF reports. “I worked on the books for eight years. A period of time that is not required to be continuously calculated by publishers. During that time I was in Russia dozens of times, in Washington, at the United Nations and of course often did intensive research in Berlin, not to mention meetings at the Minsk talks,” he said, referring to a passage in the contract: ” The Author has no liability to the Sponsor in connection with (whether in connection with the content or composition of the Book or otherwise) or in connection with its completion.
Broadcaster NDR said in the case that Seipel should have disclosed “any conflicts of interest such as payments” and set up an investigative commission. The publisher Hoffmann & Kempe stopped distribution of Seipel’s two books about Russia, which had been published by the publisher.