According to his own statements, ex-Chancellor and gas lobbyist Gerhard Schröder refrained from nominating himself for the supervisory board of the Russian energy company Gazprom a long time ago. He also informed the company of this, Schröder wrote on Tuesday evening on the online portal “Linkedin”. “In this respect, I am surprised about the reports that have come out that are different today,” said the article, the authenticity of which was confirmed by the German Press Agency from Schröder’s environment.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Reuters news agency reported that Gazprom had confirmed the nomination of the former chancellor in a statement. The state-owned company had already proposed Schröder as a new member of the committee in February. The former politician is accused of having close ties to Russia, and the party leadership has asked him to leave the SPD. Four SPD associations have applied for party exclusion proceedings. Schröder is a personal friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Schröder announced last week that he was giving up his position on the board of directors of the Russian energy company Rosneft. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) then asked Schröder to stop further activities for companies in the country. The former chancellor is a leading lobbyist for the Gazprom subsidiaries Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2.

The 78-year-old was accused across party lines of filling high-paying positions in Russian state-owned companies, while the European Union is trying to impose sanctions on the Russian economy in order to help Ukraine in this way.

Because of his commitment to Russia, Schröder also lost the privileges previously granted to former chancellors. The budget committee of the Bundestag decided last week that the office of the 78-year-old with four employees will be wound up. The European Parliament wants to put Schröder on the list of sanctions against oligarchs.

Two months after the start of the Russian attack on Ukraine, the New York Times published an interview with Schröder in April. In it, he made it clear that he is still willing to use this good relationship to mediate between Russia and Ukraine. “I have always represented German interests. I do what I can. At least one side trusts me,” said the former SPD leader. Schröder also traveled to Moscow in March to talk to Putin.