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Police search Brussels office of prominent far-right German lawmaker over China spying allegations

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BERLIN, May 7: Authorities were searching the European Parliament office of a prominent German far-right lawmaker in Brussels on Tuesday, Germany’s top prosecutor’s office said.

Maximilian Krah, the Alternative for Germany party’s top candidate in the upcoming European Parliament elections, has been under scrutiny after an assistant of his was arrested last month on suspicion of spying for China.

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Jian Guo — a German national who had worked for Krah since his election to the European Union legislature in 2019 — has been accused of of working for a Chinese intelligence service and of repeatedly passing on information on negotiations and decisions in the European Parliament in January. Prosecutors allege that he was also spying on Chinese dissidents in Germany.

The arrest cast an unflattering light on the far-right Alternative for Germany, or AfD, which already faced criticism for having Russia-friendly positions. The European Parliament elections will take place June 9 in Germany.

The federal public prosecutor’s office said in Tuesday’s statement that “the European Parliament has consented to enter the premises.”

More than 20 people could be seen in the hallway near Krah’s office on the fifth floor of the European Parliament, but reporters trying to cover the search where not allowed to get close to the office.

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An apartment of Guo in Brussels had already been searched last month, the prosecutors’ statement said.

Prosecutors said that on Tuesday both the offices of Krah and Guo in Brussels were searched on the basis of orders issued by the investigating German judge and a European investigation order.

Krah had dismissed his assistant last month after he was arrested, but both the German government and opposition lawmakers have sharply assailed the Alternative for Germany for its alleged closeness to China and also Russia.

Despite the allegations, Krah remains the AfD’s top candidate for the European Parliament election.

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News magazine Der Spiegel and public broadcaster ZDF reported last month that Krah was questioned by the FBI at the end of a visit to the United States in December about possible payments from pro-Russian sources.

Krah has denied receiving any such payments. He wrote on the social platform X that the preliminary investigation was expected but added that “we are still in the area of suppositions and insinuations.”

Separately, the no. 2 on the AfD’s list for the European Parliament election, Petr Bystron, last month denied allegations in a Czech daily that he may have received money from a pro-Russian network.

Also last month, German authorities also arrested three other people suspected of spying for China and arranging to transfer information on technology with potential military uses.

Prosecutors said the three German citizens are accused of having acted for Chinese intelligence since before June 2022. They are also suspected of violating German export laws by exporting a special laser without permission. (AP)

 

 

 

 

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