The national headquarters of the far-right Alternative for Germany, or AfD, party in Berlin was raided on Wednesday by officials from the city prosecutor’s office.
Six other localities in the German capital and in the Länder of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia were also searched.
The searches mainly concerned an initial investigation against former party chairman Joerg Meuthen and the former party treasurer in relation to previous account statements.
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Investigators say they violated the country’s political party law and committed a breach of trust.
“The defendants are suspected of violating German political party law and breach of trust, as the accounts submitted to the speaker of the German parliament by the AfD for the years 2016, 2017 and 2018, for which the defendants are responsible , allegedly contained erroneous information regarding party donations,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
Local media also reported 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 carrying out a search of the premises of the federal headquarters of Alternative for Germany, without any preliminary investigation having been sent to the AfD on the facts to be clarified”, he specifies.
Investigators who raided the premises sought to access the official email accounts of Meuthen and party 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 parliamentary immunity lifted, ARD reported.
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Investigators “copied entire hard drives, 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 currently being assessed as part of the ongoing investigation”.