New Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel could be starting his cabinet career with a potential scandal surrounding a payment from Volkswagen he received as a consultant.
Sigmar Gabriel is under the microscope
According to press reports, Gabriel is being investigated as part of the on-going Volkswagen scandal after it was alleged that he received a payment of 100,000 euros from VW while a partner in consulting firm CoNeS and then hid the payment from the authorities.
Gabriel is accused of pocketing the payment from VW, on whose board he once sat as member of the state government for Lower Saxony, as his first contract after setting-up the CoNeS consulting firm. Gabriel had announced that he had retired from politics after losing the 2003 state election at which time he formed the company.
He later reversed his decision and returned to politics but, it is claimed, did not reveal the VW payment as required by law. Politicians must show all exterior payments from business interests under parliamentary rules.
If it is revealed that he kept the payment hidden, he will have contravened the laws of the state of Lower Saxony. While state investigators are assessing whether a criminal act was executed, Gabrial himself has stated that the claims are “totally without basis.”