Mark Hauptmann, a member of the German Federal Parliament (Bundestag), on March 11 announced his resignation following accusations that he has received a bribe from authoritarian governments, including Vietnam, to “build up the supply reliable chain,” and promoting tourism in his newspaper.
Mr. Hauptmann is a member of the Christian Democratic Party (CDU), the party led by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. MP Hauptmann is known to have a close relationship with Hanoi.
The AP, AFP, News ABC Net, and a series of German news sites such as DW, Focus, and Zeit announced that Hauptmann resigned after Spiegel magazine revealed that he had received money to advertise the tourism events in Azerbaijan, China, Vietnam, and Taiwan.
According to the magazine, the governments of Azerbaijan as well as Vietnam or Taiwan were said to have advertised in a newspaper published by Mark Hauptmann for many years.
“It was about payments of tens of thousands of euros each – and there is a suspicion that Mr. Hauptmann may have taken a bribe,” writes ABC Net.
However, Mr. Hauptmann denied all allegations and stated in Spiegel magazine that he has “never represented the interests of Azerbaijan, Vietnam or Taiwan.”
But a survey of News ABC Net shows a different picture. “Mr. Hauptmann pushed the supply chain of German medical companies to Vietnam, Taiwan, and China,” the page says.
This page cites the main evidence in an email dated April 22, 2020, Mr. Hauptmann sent to a German medical company, in which he said that as a member of the economic committee of the German parliament, he wanted to solve the problem “Build a reliable supply chain” with countries China, Vietnam, and Taiwan.
“One thing is clear from this email: Mr. Hauptmann has been campaigning for the benefit of the countries that advertise on his site.”
Three months after sending the email, he founded an import-export trading company called Hauptmann Global Consulting GmbH, also according to NewsABC.net.
In addition, Focus.de and Politico.eu reported that representatives of the newspaper in which Hauptmann is an editor were believed to have received 16,744 euros from the Azerbaijan government for advertising. Other countries that also advertise in his newspaper such as Taiwan, were said to pay a total of about 24,000 euros, and Vietnam has spent 12,620 euros.
However, Mr. Hauptmann denied accepting the money, arguing that the money went to an advertising marketer, not to him.
Vietnam’s state-controlled media said that MP Mark Hauptmann in March 2019 accompanied a delegation of German businessmen to visit Hanoi in an effort to promote investment and cooperation between the two sides.
A newsletter from the Vietnamese Embassy in Germany reported a meeting between Ambassador Nguyen Minh Vu and MP Hauptmann last July, in which the Vietnamese diplomat said Vietnam would “always welcome and support German companies doing business in Vietnam as well as German firms that intend to diversify the supply chain shift from neighboring countries to Vietnam.”