German publisher halts sale of Putin books by journalist who allegedly accepted €600,000 from Russia

Hubert Seipel with Vladimir Putin - June 2016
Hubert Seipel with Vladimir Putin - June 2016 Copyright MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/SPUTNIK/KREMLIN POOL/EPA
By David Mouriquand
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German journalist Hubert Seipel allegedly received at least €600,000 in offshore payments linked to Russian sources.


German publishing house Hoffmann und Campe said it would stop selling books about Russian President Vladimir Putin by German journalist Hubert Seipel, following media reports that he allegedly received at least €600,000 in offshore payments linked to Russian sources.

The publisher said in a statement it would no longer sell two non-fiction books about Putin by Seipel following reports by German magazine Der Spiegel and public German Television ZDF.

“Hoffmann und Campe Verlag has decided to no longer offer Hubert Seipel’s books for sale due to the published media reports,” a spokesperson said, adding that the publishing house “had no knowledge of the facts described”.

The two books in question are 2021’s "Putin's Power: Why Europe Needs Russia” and 2015’s “Putin: Inner Views of Power” - both written in German and translated into several langauges, including English, Chinese, Italian and Spanish.

The reports claimed that Seipel, frequently criticized for his pro-Kremlin stance, accepted money indirectly to report Putin in a favourable light in the published books.

German public Television NDR, which had produced a documentary with Seipel in 2012 about Putin, I, Putin: A Portrait, also said it was considering legal action against the reporter.

The allegations are based on information that emerged from the Cyprus Confidential financial data records that were leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. The confidential documents from the investigation reveal that Seipel received €600,000 from an offshore company linked to Russian billionaire Alexei Mordashov.

Mordashov, believed to have close ties to Putin, is one of many Russian oligarchs sanctioned by the US, UK and the EU after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Der Spiegel and ZDF reported that when confronted with the claims, Seipel denied ever receiving money from third parties for films or television interviews. At the same time, according to Spiegel, he is said to have acknowledged support with regard to book projects.

German Television NDR said in a statement that Seipel admitted that he had "received money from Alexey Mordashov via two ‘sponsorship contracts’ in 2013 and 2018 and explained that it was for two book projects.”

Additional sources • AP, Der Spiegel

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