President of the German Football Club Clemens Tennis takes loans in Sberbank and finances Governor Savchenko
The former (1998–2005) German Prime Minister, Gerhard Schröder became the informal foreign minister of “Rosneft” and “Gazprom”. How much does the state cost the maintenance of a status lobbyist?
On December 11, two Russian state-owned companies met on the German Gelsenkirchen football field: Russian Railways and “Gazprom”. The first is the sponsor of the Moscow “Locomotive”, the second — “Schalke 04” from West Germany.
According to the results of the match, Alexey Miller’s wards turned out to be stronger than the team of Oleg Belozerov. Because of the defeat from the German wards of the “national treasure”, “Loko” dropped out of the European Cups. So Russia’s foreign policy intricately intervened in football affairs and played against the domestic club.
With this title almost a decade ago, a large German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung was published. The article was devoted to the sponsor of “Schalke 04” — the Russian “Gazprom”.
The story of the emergence of the gas giant on North Rhine – Westphalia began with the letter of Clemens Tennis football club head to Gerhard Schröder, not only to a prominent politician, but also to the head of “Gazprom”’s subsidiary. Tennis asked the Social Democrat for help in resolving the financial difficulties of the team.
In a return phone call, Schröder prompted him to exit on Alexey Miller. Since then, money from Russia to the German club flowed like a river.
So Schröder pulled out “Schalke 04” from the bottom, although this club has historically been considered the sworn enemy of Borussia Dortmund, for which the ex-chancellor has long been a fan. That was his “betrayal”.
According to the current contract, the German club receives € 30 million per year from “Gazprom”. And this is just for advertising on the form of players.
“By European standards of title sponsorship, this is a very large amount”, — said sports official and municipal deputy Maxim Motin to the “Sobesednik”.
Indeed, Evonik pays only $ 10 million a year for placing its logo on the T-shirts of the leading in the Bundesliga Borussia.
— Any sponsorship should imply a profit. But “Gazprom” does not work with end-users in the German market”, — continues Motin. — I think the financing of «Schalke» has become part of a larger transaction.
What kind of deal can we talk about is easy to guess. Schröder as the head of the board of directors of the “Gazprom” company Nord Stream 2 AG is engaged in the large-scale project «Nord Stream — 2». Yes, Germany is already a large recipient of Russian gas.
“Gazprom”, among other things, sponsors foreign football clubs. Let’s say German “Schalke 04” because it is actively working there. This needs to be supported”, — Vladimir Putin said at the last press conference. And the president personally supported it from the very beginning.
Overseer for Sechin
In his youth, Gerhard Schröder was the striker of the amateur football club TuS Talle. For his exceptional activity on the field, he even got the nickname “Plowman”.
Today, the ex-Chancellor is plowing up the main Russian state-owned companies. In addition to “Gazprom”, he played for “Rosneft”, for which Schröder was elected chairman of the board of directors at the summer meeting of shareholders. And for the first time, he was a member of this governing body last year. It is unlikely by coincidence that the office of a subsidiary company, Rosneft Deutschland, was opened in Berlin at the same time. And already this year, Rosneft Deutschland concluded the first deal with Basalt-Actien-Gesellschaft for recycling bitumen.
In fact, Schröder, in his role as chairman of the board of directors, serves as an international lobbyist and contributes to the improvement of economic and political ties between Russia and Germany. Formally, he must control the work of the company’s board and its head, Igor Sechin. Part of this role, he also performs, experts say.
— For Sechin, the decision to appoint Schröder was not very convenient. Thanks to Schröder, Putin has an alternative source of information for “Rosneft”. Schröder is both an observer and supports the company’s status in European circles. But I don’t think that he has serious functions”, — political analyst Tatyana Stanovaya told “Sobesednik”.
As for Schroeder’s proximity to the president, Stanovaya urges not to exaggerate it:
— Putin holds a certain distance. For him, he is not as close as Rotenberg, for example. But Schröder is definitely comfortable for Putin. And he is not trying to read lectures.
A foreign agent vice versa
In May, Vladimir Putin once again officially became the president. Many people attended the inauguration, but he personally greeted only three people. Immediately after the solemn speech, Putin walked down from the podium and shook hands with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Patriarch Kirill and the former chancellor. Thus, the significance of Gerhard Schröder for the Kremlin was emphasized publicly.
The German critical press called Schröder the “paid-for lackey of Putin’s politics” (Funke Mediengruppe). The “Sobesednik” tried to find out how much he received from “Gazprom”, but the subsidiary refused to disclose the size of the remuneration of the ex-chancellor. “Nord Stream 2 AG does not publish this information”, — they responded briefly to our request. And this is despite the fact that the company registered in Switzerland is 100% owned by the state-owned “Gazprom”, which means it must be controlled by the public.
With “Rosneft” turned out to be easier. According to internal documents of the company, the annual remuneration of the chairman of the board of directors is $ 600 thousand. So, Schröder’s income does not depend on the fluctuation of the ruble exchange rate, and in just under two years of work at “Rosneft” he should become a dollar millionaire. If before he was not.
However, official salaries are not the only source of funding for German friends of Putin. The companies owned by the already mentioned Clemens Tennis, the head of “Schalke 04”, operate on the Russian pig market. Most of its activity is concentrated in the Belgorod region. Moreover, a share in a Russian-controlled company owned by Tonnies Russland Agrar GmbH is owned by a Russian — former vice-mayor of Belgorod Alexander Pashkov.
Of course, the German businessman enjoys preferences. Even a loan from Sberbank was granted on the security of municipal property. The governor Yevgeniy Savchenko provides state support to German companies. In response, “Alekseevsk Bacon” of Tennis, as the “Sobesednik” found out, transferred money to its electoral account during local elections.
According to our calculations, the companies controlled by Schröder’s football partner have earned over 13 billion rubles in Russia last year. So the times when Germany financed Russian Social Democrats are over: now everything is the opposite.
1230 km should be the length of the «Nord Stream — 2». The pipeline will pass through the Baltic Sea from the Russian coast to the coast of Germany, bypassing Ukraine. Commissioning is possible until the end of 2019.