Manager Matthias Warnig, who lives in Staufen near Freiburg, is on the list of US sanctions. Who is behind the managing director of Nord Stream AG?
Stuttgart – The United States imposed further sanctions on Wednesday because of the Ukraine crisis, including a German businessman who is affected: Matthias Warnig (66), who lives in the 8,000-inhabitant town of Staufen in the Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald district. Exactly what the sanctions look like – whether they include travel restrictions or financial penalties such as freezing accounts – was still unclear on Wednesday evening. But who is behind the person of Matthias Warnig, the German managing director of Nord Stream Aktiengesellschaft and a member of the supervisory board of the Schalke 04 football club?
Once a secret agent for the Stasi
Warnig, who was born in Lower Lusatia, once worked as a secret agent for the Stasi in the GDR and awards such as the “Gold Medal for Loyal Service in the National People’s Army” from 1989 by Erich Mielke, former Minister for State Security in the GDR, testify to his success in his previous job. Under the alias “Arthur” officer Matthias Warnig spied in the GDR trade mission in Düsseldorf, but this did not harm his later career in the West. He represented the government of Hans Modrow during the negotiations on the monetary, economic and social union between the GDR and the Federal Republic, and as a result there was a job offer from the Dresdner Bank, for which Warnig worked in Saint Petersburg from 1990.
Ennobled by the West, linked to Russia
This Western ennoblement paved the way for his commercial career, but did not disrupt his ties to Russia. According to Wikipedia, Warnig and Russian President Vladimir Putin first met in January 1989 on the 71st anniversary of the founding of the notorious Soviet secret police Cheka. A friendship with the head of the Kremlin developed later, when Warnig is said to have campaigned for an operation on Putin’s critically injured wife, Lyudmila Alexandrova Putin, in Germany.
A friendship with Putin arose
In any case, Warnig, who was married to a Russian woman in his second marriage, was awarded the “Russian Order of Honor” by Putin in 2012. For many years he has been a member of the supervisory boards of several Russian banks, the Russian energy supplier Rosneft and the pipeline company Transneft. Since March 2006, Warnig has also been the Managing Director of Nord Stream Aktiengesellschaft, based in Zug, Switzerland – a two-hour drive from Staufen. This company manages the construction and operation of the 1,224-kilometer Nord Stream gas pipeline through the Baltic Sea, which should one day deliver up to 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year, which could supply 26 million households. Its commissioning is currently falling under a sanction against Russia due to the Ukraine crisis and has been stopped.