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

German Prosecutors Are Investigating Right-wing Extremist Lawmakers 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.

According to dpa information, it is Petr Bystron, the party’s second candidate for the European elections in June. The Bundestag had lifted Bystron’s immunity.

The Munich public prosecutor’s office announced that searches were planned at Bystron’s office in Berlin, several locations in Bavaria in the districts of Munich, Erding and Deggendorf as well as on the Spanish island of Mallorca during the course of Thursday.

According to the report, 11 prosecutors and around 60 Bavarian police officers 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 carriers in order to search them for evidence, he said.

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 whether an investigation should be initiated.

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

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

Bystron itself could not initially be reached for comment.

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

The AfD was polling around 20% across the country as it was deeply dissatisfied with Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s three-party coalition, but after a series of recent scandals support has fallen to between 16% and 18%.

The AfD’s signature issue is a tough anti-immigration stance, and the party is benefiting from increasing concerns among many German voters about the rising number of people seeking asylum in the country.

Earlier this week, a district court ruled that German intelligence services could classify the AfD as a suspected extremist group. The party announced that it would appeal the verdict.

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