Home Society Police raid EU Parliament offices in ‘Russiagate’ probe
Police raid EU Parliament offices in ‘Russiagate’ probe

Police raid EU Parliament offices in ‘Russiagate’ probe

by host

Police carried out raids Wednesday in connection to “Russian interference” in the European Parliament, according to a statement by the Belgian federal prosecutor.

The searches, conducted at a private residence in Brussels and in European Parliament offices in Strasbourg and Brussels, are linked to the so-called Russiagate case, where MEPs were allegedly approached and paid to promote Russian propaganda via the Voice of Europe website.

“There are indications that the European Parliament employee concerned played a significant role in this,” Belgian law enforcement said.

According to two people familiar with the investigation who were granted anonymity to discuss the sensitive issue, Belgian police are looking into the connections of a parliamentary assistant who has worked for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) — a controversial political party which has been central in the case — and now works for far-right Dutch MEP Marcel de Graaff.

De Graaff’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment from POLITICO. 

The AfD has been beset by a series of scandals in recent months, culminating in the arrest in April of an aide to senior MEP Maximilian Krah. German authorities said the aide, named as Jian G., was an “employee of a Chinese secret service.” 

Shortly after that, German public prosecutors in Dresden initiated preliminary investigations over allegations that Krah had accepted payments from Russia and China “for his work as an MEP.” Earlier this month, Belgian and German police searched Krah’s European Parliament office in connection with the espionage investigation. 

Krah, who was the AfD’s lead candidate in the EU election, announced he would stop campaigning and step down from his party’s leadership board after the spy and corruption allegations, as well as a recent inflammatory remark about the Nazi-era Waffen-SS, plagued his candidacy.

A European Parliament spokesperson declined to comment on an ongoing investigation, but confirmed that authorities had been provided with access to an office.

This story has been updated.

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