Germany is Investigating a Right-wing Extremist MP Who is Accused of Accepting Russian Bribes - Latest Global News

Germany is Investigating a Right-wing Extremist MP Who is Accused of Accepting Russian Bribes

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German prosecutors and police have launched a corruption investigation into Petr Bystron, a lawmaker from the far-right Alternative for Germany, over links to a covert Kremlin campaign to spread pro-Russian disinformation across Europe.

The campaign was allegedly orchestrated by Ukrainian pro-Kremlin oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk ahead of next month’s European elections.

Czech authorities claimed in March that Medvedchuk and his longtime associate Artem Marchevskyi set up an online portal in Prague called “Voice of Europe,” which they said was used not only to spread Russian propaganda in 16 languages, but also to funnel money to pro-Russia candidates running in the EU elections.

German authorities believe that Bystron, an AfD lawmaker with Czech roots, second on the AfD list for the EU election and its foreign policy spokesman, is one of the politicians who received money from Voice of Europe. He was a frequent guest on VoE and expressed pro-Moscow slogans in interviews with the channel.

Belgian security officials say intelligence investigations have been launched across Europe into elected officials suspected of stealing up to 1 million euros a month from Medvedchuk and Marchevskyi.

Medvedchuk, who lives in Moscow after being exchanged for Ukrainian prisoners of war, did not comment on the allegations. Marchevskyi has gone into hiding, claiming he is innocent.

Der Spiegel recently reported that Czech intelligence services secretly recorded Bystron complaining to Marchevskyi about the banknote denominations he had received. These are too high to be accepted at a German gas station or in a shop.

Bystron denied the allegations, telling Spiegel they were part of a “NATO campaign” to discredit parties “that are for peace and fighting against the continuation of the war in Ukraine.” He could not be reached for comment.

Public prosecutors and police in Munich said on Thursday that they were investigating a German lawmaker “on initial suspicion of corruption of elected officials and money laundering.”

A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office declined to name the lawmaker. But the Bundestag had previously lifted Bystron’s parliamentary immunity from prosecution.

They said properties in Berlin and Bavaria as well as Mallorca would be searched. “Evidence will be secured and then evaluated,” the statement said, emphasizing at the same time that “the presumption of innocence” applies. German media reported that Bystron’s office in the Bundestag in Berlin was also searched.

The searches add to the AfD’s growing legal problems. An associate of Maximilian Krah, a member of the European Parliament and the party’s leading candidate in the EU elections, was arrested last month on charges of spying for China.

Krah also appeared on Voice of Europe, although he denied receiving payments from the platform.

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