Mask affair: kisses and commissions


Status: 11/24/2021 6:00 p.m.

At the state mask deal with the Swiss company Emix wanted information from WDR, Ed and “SZ” also earn the sister of State Secretary Stephan Mayer (CSU). Today the CSU local politician sees this as a big mistake.

By Markus Grill, NDR / WDR

The mask dealers of the Swiss company Emix had no contact with health ministries in Germany at the beginning of the pandemic. That’s why they hired Andrea Tandler, a Munich PR entrepreneur and daughter of the former CSU General Secretary Gerold Tandler.

From the company’s point of view, that must have been a good idea, because in the end Emix managed to sell protective equipment worth a total of more than 700 million euros to the federal government, Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia. Tandler is said to have collected a commission between 34 and 51 million euros together with her partner. Ms. Tandler has left inquiries about her work unanswered for months.

Request also to Mayer’s sister

Nevertheless, more and more backgrounds of the deals are currently becoming known, which are particularly interesting because the Swiss received very high prices during the pandemic: For example, Emix delivered FFP2 masks to Bavaria at a unit price of 8.90 euros, to North Rhine-Westphalia at a price of 9.90 euros.

Because Andrea Tandler herself had no contact with Health Minister Jens Spahn or the ministers in Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia, she turned to the CSU MEP Monika Hohlmeier and Verena Mayer, the sister of Stephan Mayer (CSU), State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of the Interior, which is also the CSU – is a local politician. Tandler asks Verena Mayer whether “Stephan” can think of someone who needs masks. “Thank you and kisses.”

Stephan Mayer (CSU) is State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of the Interior.

Image: dpa

“Nothing I’m proud of”

In conversation with Ed, WDR and “Süddeutscher Zeitung” admits Verena Mayer to have demanded a commission from Andrea Tandler after passing on the contacts. “How high is my commission?”, The sister of the CSU State Secretary is said to have asked Tandler at the beginning of March 2020. Mayer admits that he actually reminded Tandler that they had agreed on a commission; also that the commission was due because the mask order came about because of her brother’s commitment in the ministry.

When asked about the short messages today, Mayer says: “The commission demand was a stupid thing, it wasn’t something I’m proud of.” A friend who she told about the placement advised her to ask for a commission. “Just ask if you can get something,” said her friend. So the idea arose to charge Tandler five cents for each mask sold.

In the end, however, she “didn’t get a cent”. Even if she wrote in her messages to Ms. Tandler that there had been an oral agreement about the commission, that was not correct, Ms. Mayer says today.

Brokerage of contacts through Hohlmeier

Andrea Tandler is said to have responded to the commission claim that the federal government had ordered masks from Emix. But the contact came about through Monika Hohlmeier, the CSU MEP and daughter of the former Bavarian Prime Minister Franz Josef Strauss, who is also a good friend of Ms. Tandler. Hohlmeier herself admitted the contact brokerage, but always emphasized that she did not ask for any money for it and did not get any.

Verena Mayer says she had no idea about the prices and order quantities of Emix. You only found out all of this from the media this year. She was also surprised by the millions in commission that Andrea Tandler is said to have collected for arranging masks: “She only told me that the Swiss would invite her to dinner.”

Hohlmeier emphasizes that he did not get any money for the mediation.

Bild: picture alliance/dpa/CTK

Dispute over commission

In the meantime, her relationship with Ms. Tandler has also changed. “There is no longer any relationship,” says Mayer, who also sits on the city council for the CSU in Neuötting, her home town. “I was a sheep and I feel taken advantage of by Andrea Tandler.” She has never asked for a commission in her life.

When there was a dispute about the commission, Tandler wrote to her that Emix would contact her. “But they never got in touch and I stopped following it”. It was just “too stupid” for her. Verena Mayer says the situation is now more than “shitty” for her. They are afraid of being thrown into the same pot “as the others”.

Interior Secretary Mayer admits on request that he has forwarded the Emix contact details that he received from his sister to the Interior Ministry. But one could not accuse him of anything “with the best will in the world”. He only got through the request from now WDR, NDR and “SZ” learn that his sister is said to have demanded a commission from Mrs. Tandler.

Emix: Normal cooperation

On request, Emix itself announces that it has “neither directly nor indirectly paid a commission” to Verena Mayer. And it is completely normal for a non-German company to cooperate with Andrea Tandler in this country. “It is common practice in the international trading business to look for partners as external project staff in a new market in order to meet the challenges there. Andrea Tandler pursued these tasks accordingly,” said Emix in a written statement.

In a report to the budget committee of the Bundestag, the Ministry of Health writes that the federal government has obtained a total of almost 120 million FFP2 masks at an average price of 5.58 euros from Emix.

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