The board of the controversial climate and environment foundation will resign in the coming weeks. However, the chairman Erwin Sellering emphasizes that the foundation itself cannot be dissolved. Shortly before leaving, he accuses the state government of wanting to save its own skin.
As agreed with the Schwerin state government in 2022, the board of directors of the controversial climate and environmental foundation in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania will resign in the coming weeks. This was announced by the chairman of the foundation and former Prime Minister Erwin Sellering in Schwerin. The prerequisite is that the necessary attestations for the so-called economic business operations of the foundation are available and that the foundation supervision also discharges the board of directors.
Sellering again emphasized that from his point of view the foundation could not be dissolved. A subsequent board of directors appointed by the state government must also take this into account. Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania's state government under Prime Minister Manuela Schwesig and the state parliament wanted to "do away with the foundation, mainly because they fear continued criticism of their previous actions, perhaps even personal disadvantages," said Sellering.
"An obviously unlawful dissolution of the foundation in the hope of whitewashing would rightly draw even more criticism," he added. The state government should stop "constantly attacking the foundation".
When asked, Sellering did not want to rule out that political pressure was also exerted on the financial administration before it demanded 9.8 million euros in gift tax from the climate foundation for the 20 million euro donation from Nord Stream 2 in September 2022. The idea is not unreasonable, because the government had already done everything "to hinder our work". But in the end he doesn't know.
The foundation had recently hit the headlines with a gift tax return that had been burned by a tax officer. When the explanation was sought in April 2022, the officer initially denied having the file. When she later found them, she destroyed them "in a rash action," according to investigations by the public prosecutor's office.
The foundation, established by the state in 2021, had been donated 20 million euros by the Russian-controlled Nord Stream 2 AG for climate protection projects. At the same time, the foundation used covert deals to ensure that the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline could be completed because companies involved in it were threatened by US sanctions.
The pipeline never went into operation and was severely damaged by explosions in the fall of 2022. After Russia's attack on Ukraine, the foundation ceased operations. Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania's state government and the state parliament want to dissolve the foundation altogether.