AfD Faces Scrutiny Over Ties to Russia and China Ahead of EU Elections

German authorities investigate AfD's Maximilian Krah over alleged bribery by Russia and China. Krah's former assistant was arrested on suspicion of Chinese espionage, but Krah himself is not being investigated for espionage.

Trim Correspondents
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AfD Faces Scrutiny Over Ties to Russia and China Ahead of EU Elections

AfD Faces Scrutiny Over Ties to Russia and China Ahead of EU Elections

Germany's far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party is facing intense scrutiny in the lead-up to the European elections due to its alleged ties to Russian financiers and Chinese spies. Maximilian Krah, the AfD's lead candidate, will not be investigated for alleged Chinese espionage alongside his former assistant, who was arrested on suspicion of working for Chinese intelligence. However, German authorities are continuing preliminary investigations into suspicions that Krah is being bribed by Russia and China.

Why this matters: The allegations against the AfD party have significant implications for European politics, as they raise concerns about the influence of foreign powers on European elections. If proven, these allegations could undermine the legitimacy of the European Parliament and have far-reaching consequences for European politics and global relations.

The Federal Public Prosecutor confirmed that the espionage investigation only targets Krah's former assistant, not Krah himself. Two unrelated cases involving Krah are still subject to preliminary investigation by a regional prosecutor. Before an official investigation can start, the European Parliament would have to lift Krah's immunity as a member of the European Parliament.

A pre-investigation into Krah was initiated to determine "whether there is indeed an initial suspicion of criminal conduct involving bribery of a member of parliament." The pre-investigation began after media reports of Krah's close relations with China and revelations by the Czech intelligence service that he was suspected of receiving money via a media outlet accused of being a Russian propaganda tool.

Krah has dismissed the allegations, stating on the social platform X,"We are still in the realm of assumptions and insinuations. "The scrutinycomes at a challenging time for the AfD, as the party's popularity has taken a hit in recent months. The AfD's poll numbers have dropped 5 points from its peak of 23% just six months ago.

The Alternative for Germany (AfD) was founded in 2013 as a Eurosceptic party, opposing the European Union and Germany's use of the euro currency. Over the years, the party has shifted further to the right, adopting anti-immigration and anti-Islam positions. The AfD entered the German parliament for the first time in 2017, becoming the third-largest party in the Bundestag.

As the European elections approach, the allegations surrounding Maximilian Krah and the AfD's ties to Russia and China have put the party under heightened scrutiny. The ongoing investigations and the party's declining popularity suggest that the AfD may face challenges in maintaining its political influence in Germany and the European Parliament.

Key Takeaways

  • Germany's AfD party faces scrutiny over alleged ties to Russian financiers and Chinese spies.
  • Lead candidate Maximilian Krah won't be investigated for Chinese espionage, but faces other probes.
  • Krah is suspected of receiving bribes from Russia and China, undermining European election legitimacy.
  • AfD's popularity has dropped 5 points in recent months, threatening its influence in Germany and EU.
  • Ongoing investigations may impact AfD's performance in upcoming European elections.