Jens Spahn is a member of the German Bundestag for the CDU (Christian Democrats) and serves as Minister of Health in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet. The following article outlines a recent controversy over Mr. Spahn’s purchase of a luxury villa in Berlin.
Many thanks to Hellequin GB for translating this piece from the German edition of Business Insider:
Spahn financed the purchase of villas in part with a savings bank loan — previously he sat on the bank’s board of directors for years
Jens Spahn’s purchase of a luxury villa in Berlin triggered nationwide discussions — also about whether the process was of political interest, or a private matter for the Minister of Health.
“It is not forbidden,” wrote the conservative political magazine Cicero, among others, “but it transcends the boundaries of good taste.”
Political symbols would also not stop at private life
The Augsburger Allgemeine commented: “Whether a mandate holder lives in a room in a shared flat or in a castle has absolutely nothing to do with how well he does his job.”
After Business Insider reported last week that Spahn had bought a house for several million euros, his lawyer also spoke up. In a letter, the lawyer stated that the reporting was untrue and inadmissible.
The purchase price is not correct
The minister’s attorney asked Business Insider to delete the article on Spahn’s private matter. As a result, Business Insider published the exact amount from the purchase agreement that Spahn and his husband signed with the notary on July 21, 2020.
A few hours later, Spahn’s lawyer got in touch again. The lawyer assumed that the purchase price was incorrect only because of a “communication oversight”, he wrote. “In this respect we no longer hold on to the fact that the corresponding claim is untruthful.” Despite this, the information about buying a house would not concern the public, the lawyer said.
For this reason, Spahn apparently is not answering any questions about the financing of the villa. However, some details can be found in the sales contract. Among other things, that Spahn shouldered two thirds of the purchase price and his husband a third.
The basic files also show that the couple took out at least two loans to buy a house. Corresponding land charges were entered in the land register. This includes a large loan from Sparkasse Westmünsterland, with which Spahn has a special relationship.
The trained banker was born not far from the main office in Ahaus. Between 2009 and 2015 he was a member of the Bundestag on the Sparkasse’s administrative board. While in the banking sector so-called corporate loans — i.e. loans to one’s own management board or supervisory board — are particularly checked due to possible conflicts of interest, there is no such regulation for former board members.
When asked, Spahn did not comment on the terms of the savings bank loan. A spokesman for Sparkasse Westmünsterland said that there are no special rules for loans for former members of the board of directors.