After criticism of a possible conflict of interest of State Secretary Udo Philipp, the Federal Ministry of Economics published a list of its direct shareholdings on Thursday. The ministry emphasized that according to the current regulations of the federal government on financial transactions, it is allowed to hold investments in companies. Also, according to these regulations, there are no notification obligations for direct participations.

"Nevertheless, we ensure transparency here and publish the company holdings of State Secretary Udo Philipp." According to the report, he has shares in four start-ups: 4.1 percent in Africa Greentec in Hainburg, 13.6 percent in LMP in France, 5.1 percent in CSP in Großköllnbach and 8.3 percent in MST Group in Munich.

"Not active in any way" with the companies

Philipp had come under criticism for private investments in start-ups. The Ministry of Economics explained that in his work as state secretary, however, Philipp was not involved with these companies, "especially not with decisions from which they would benefit financially". He has also been "not active in any way" with the companies since 2019 and has no influence on business policy. He had reported the shareholdings, although he did not have to do so according to the rules.

As State Secretary, Philipp is not only responsible for industrial policy, but also for start-up promotion, among other things. A report by the "Business Insider" on his private investments had raised questions in view of the position in the ministry with the opposition, which they now want to ask in the economic committee of the Bundestag.

According to the ministry, Philipp was involved with the four small companies as a "business angel" before taking office. These are mostly experienced business people who help young startups with equity, management experience and contacts. As a result, Philipp held "small minority shares without influence on business policy", he was neither active as an advisory board nor as a supervisory board, it said.

However, in order to avoid conflicts of interest, care was taken to ensure that he did not make decisions from which these companies could benefit financially. "In concrete terms, this means that the office of State Secretary Philipp ensures that State Secretary Philipp would not be presented with any decisions affecting these companies," the ministry said. One of the companies was funded by the Ministry of Economic Affairs. However, Philipp was not involved in the decisions.