search of offices of AfD MEP in Brussels

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A screenshot taken from Agence France-Presse TV footage shows a blocked entrance to the European Parliament after German prosecutors ordered a search of the Brussels offices of a member of the European Parliament for the party far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), in Brussels, May 7, 2024. – / AFP

The German federal prosecutor’s office announced searches on Tuesday, May 7, in the premises of the MEP of the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party, Maximilian Krah, in the European Parliament, as part of suspicions of espionage for of China against one of his assistants.

Mr. Krah, head of the far-right party list in the June 9 election, is not targeted by these accusations, and the search of his Brussels offices is part of a procedure “concerning witnesses”, however, specified the prosecution in a press release. The Belgian federal prosecutor’s office told Agence France-Presse (AFP) that it had supervised the procedure, without giving further details.

Read also | Article reserved for our subscribers In Germany, the far-right AfD party launches its European campaign without its head of list

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The searches are linked to the arrest, on April 23, of Jian Guo, a German collaborator of Mr. Krah, accused of having spied on Chinese opponents in Germany and of having shared information on the European Parliament with a Chinese intelligence service. “The European Parliament has given its consent to enter the premises”said the German prosecutor’s office, recalling that Jian Guo’s apartment in Brussels had already been searched on April 24.

“Parliament is fully cooperating with law enforcement and judicial authorities to facilitate the course of justice and will continue to do so if requested to do so”affirmed the services of the latter. “It is in this context that access to the office was granted”they added.

Documents belonging to Mr Krah covered by immunity

Mr. Krah confirmed the search “from the office of his ex-collaborator” in a reaction on his X account. “It was predictable after his arrest and it is therefore not at all surprising”he wrote, being surprised that it was necessary ” so much time “ to do it. “Neither I nor any other staff member are affected”he added.

German law provides that a search can be carried out at the homes of MPs and members of the European Parliament when they are not suspects, as a measure for witnesses. All documents belonging to Mr. Krah are covered by immunity.

The revelation, at the end of April, of suspicions of espionage by a Chinese agent in the heart of the European Parliament fueled fears of interference from Beijing aimed at undermining democracies before the June elections.

The case came the day after the arrest in Germany of three nationals, also accused of spying for China, and the indictment of two men in London on similar suspicions.

Read also | China calls Germany’s espionage suspicions ‘pure invention’

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The World with AFP

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