According to a media report, dairy entrepreneur Theo Müller has confirmed contact with the AfD for the first time. Müller admitted to the “Handelsblatt” on Thursday when asked that he had met AfD leader Alice Weidel a few weeks ago for a private dinner in a luxury restaurant in Cannes, France. According to the newspaper, a spokesman for Weidel also confirmed the meeting.

As Müller further told the “Handelsblatt”, it was not the first meeting. Another meeting with the AfD politician is also planned at the end of the year. “During the discussions with Dr. Weidel, I was interested in the AfD’s program and her personal view on current politics,” Müller told the newspaper. During the exchange he found “not the slightest clue” that would suggest Nazi ideology. That would be “an absolute no-go” for him.

Müller also said that he does not support the AfD with donations, neither personally nor at the company level. According to the newspaper, a spokesman for Weidel also said that the party had not received any donations from Müller or those around him. The meeting between Müller and Weidel was “purely private in nature”.

The AfD is monitored by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in several federal states, and in Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia the party is classified as definitely right-wing extremist.

Rumors about Müller’s alleged sympathies towards right-wing parties have persisted since the late 1980s. The scene magazine “Wiener” reported in the fall of 1989 that Müller was prepared to support the then emerging party “The Republicans” with large sums of money. The “Wiener” author Michael A. Konitzer explained that Müller had announced in a conversation with him: “I will donate. Absolutely clear. You will be satisfied.” This is reported by “Die Zeit”, among others.

Even after the legal dispute that followed, Konitzer stuck to his version. “Müllermilch” tried in vain to obtain a cease and desist declaration. According to “Wiener”, Theo Müller insists on saying that he only made the promises under certain conditions, for example that the Republicans had the necessary political ability. In 1989, “Wiener” posed as a “Friends of German Republicans” and contacted numerous large industrialists to test their willingness to donate to the right-wing party.

The “Wiener” report was apparently also the starting point for the myth that “Müllermilch” supports the right-wing extremist micro-party NPD. The company rejected the allegations from the start, as reported by the “taz”, among others. The rumors that Müller had secretly donated to the party through slush funds were never confirmed. This would have been noticed in 2008 at the latest, when the public prosecutor’s office searched the NPD headquarters because they suspected the party’s treasurer of infidelity, according to the “taz”.

However, party donations are not unknown territory for Müller. In 2005, according to “taz,” he transferred 20,000 euros to the CDU. The dairy entrepreneur is himself a CSU member.

Müller is criticized for his “tax avoidance strategy”. He is said to have lived in Switzerland since 2003 to save 200 million euros that would be incurred as gift and inheritance taxes if he left the company to his children, according to the magazine “Neues Deutschland”. He would rather invest the money instead of giving it to the state. According to “Bild”, Müller’s assets are around 4.5 billion euros.

Müller is known for the Theo Müller group of companies of the same name. This includes brands such as “Müllermilch”, the “Weihenstephan” dairy and “Landliebe”.

Sources: AFP, “Die Zeit”, “taz”, “Neues Deutschland”, “Handelsblatt”