German Prosecutors Are Investigating Right-wing Extremist AfD MPs for Bribery - Latest Global News

German Prosecutors Are Investigating Right-wing Extremist AfD MPs for Bribery

German prosecutors on Thursday launched an investigation into a lawmaker from the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party on suspicion of bribery and money laundering and searched several properties.

The immunity of Petr Bystron, the party’s second candidate for the June 9 European elections, was lifted by Germany’s Bundestag, or lower house of parliament.

Bystron described the investigation to the Zeit Online news site as politically motivated.

Far-right lawmakers see some consequences for the election

“The proceedings will be stopped when the election is over,” he was quoted as saying. “It will cost us some votes in the election.”

However, he is sure that other voters will remain loyal to the AfD: “Anyone who knows the history of our party, which was damaged by retaliatory campaigns, will not be deterred by this.”

According to the Munich public prosecutor’s office, searches took place at Bystron’s office in Berlin, at several locations in Bavaria and on the Spanish island of Mallorca.

According to the public prosecutor’s office, 11 prosecutors and around 70 officers from the Bavarian police were on duty.

The property of witnesses who are not accused in the trial was also searched, said a spokesman for the public prosecutor’s office. The main aim was to confiscate documents and data storage media and search them for evidence.

Bystron has been chairman of the AfD’s Foreign Affairs Committee in the Bundestag since 2017. Since 2021 he has been his party’s foreign policy spokesman and its representative at the Council of Europe and the Interparliamentary Union of Global Parliaments.

The Munich public prosecutor’s office pointed out that the presumption of innocence applies until a possible conviction.

Parliament deprives another AfD Member of the Bundestag immunity

Bystron’s AfD parliamentary group colleague Hannes Gnauck also had his immunity revoked in the Bundestag on Thursday.

According to the broadcaster ARD, the case is about a disciplinary complaint from his time in the Bundeswehr.

Gnauck represents the AfD in the Bundestag’s Defense Committee and is sharply criticized by politicians from other parties because there are indications that the Military Counterintelligence Service (MAD) had classified the former soldier as an “extremist”.

Bystron and another leading AfD politician, Maximilian Krah, have been under intense scrutiny in recent weeks because of alleged ties to pro-Russian networks. After media reports about possible payments to both politicians, the public prosecutor’s office recently examined the allegations.

Krah, a member of the European Parliament, is the AfD’s top candidate for the European elections.

German measures follow Czech investigations

In March, the Czech Republic placed the pro-Russian Internet platform Voice of Europe (VoE) on a national sanctions list following an intelligence agency investigation that included interviews with Bystron and Krah.

The site is said to have been part of a Russian influence operation aimed at questioning Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and freedom. A Czech newspaper had reported that Bystron may also have accepted money.

According to dpa information, the German investigations that have now been initiated relate to the allegations in connection with VoE.

The public prosecutor’s office is also investigating AfD‘sKrah

The Dresden public prosecutor’s office had also initiated an investigation into possible payments from China against Krah, who came from the GDR, and another person.

In addition, Krah’s former employee Jian G was arrested on suspicion of spying for China. In connection with the investigation against G., German prosecutors had Krah’s offices and those of his ex-employee in the European Parliament in Brussels searched last week.

AfD The leadership continues to stand by its two candidates.

After a short break, Krah is taking part in campaign appearances again and in the Bystron case, party leaders Alice Weidel and Tino Chrupalla stated in writing: “The lifting of immunity and the search of Petr Bystron’s office and private rooms are a serious matter.”

So far, no evidence has been presented to support the allegations that have been made against Bystron for weeks, it said.

The AfD parliamentary group hopes that the investigation will be concluded quickly, “so that there is no suspicion that attempts are being made to influence the European election campaign by authorities and public prosecutors who are bound by instructions.”

The AfD was at around 20% nationwide as it was dissatisfied with Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s three-party coalition, but after a series of scandals – including allegations that it was planning to repatriate migrants – support has fallen to 16% by 18 % decreased.

Tino Chrupalla (center), federal chairman of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) and chairman of the AfD parliamentary group, speaks during a plenary session in the German Bundestag.  Michael Kappeler/dpa

Tino Chrupalla (center), federal chairman of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) and chairman of the AfD parliamentary group, speaks during a plenary session in the German Bundestag. Michael Kappeler/dpa

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