Prosecutors raid headquarters of German far-right party
BERLIN (AP) — The national headquarters of the far-right Alternative for Germany, or AfD, party in Berlin were searched by officials with the city’s prosecutor’s office on Wednesday.
Six other locations in the German capital and the states of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia were also searched.
The searches were primarily concerned with an initial investigation against former party chairman Joerg Meuthen and the party’s former treasurer in connection with earlier statements of accounts.
According to investigators, they allegedly may have violated the country’s political parties act and committed breach of trust.
“The defendants are suspected of violating the German Political Parties Act and of breach of trust, as the accounts submitted to the president of the German parliament by the AfD for the years 2016, 2017 and 2018, for which the defendants are responsible, contained allegedly incorrect information regarding party donations,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
Local media reported as well that the party allegedly made false statements in accountability reports to parliament in the years 2016 to 2018.
The party condemned the raids in a statement.
“Since this morning, the Berlin public prosecutor’s office has been conducting a house search in the premises of the federal headquarters of Alternative for Germany, without any prior inquiry having been directed to the AfD regarding the facts to be clarified,” it said.
Investigators raiding the premises looked for access to the official email accounts of Meuthen and the party’s treasurer, Klaus-Guenther Fohrmann, at the time, German public broadcaster ARD reported. The investigation against Meuthen has been going on since January. Meuthen, who is a member of the European Parliament, had his parliamentarian immunity lifted, ARD reported.
Investigators “copied complete hard disks, mailboxes and file folders” the AfD said in its statement.
The prosecutor’s office confirmed that it had confiscated “documents and data carriers, which are now being evaluated in the course of the ongoing investigation.”