Lower Saxony: Investigators search AfD state office

Lower Saxony: Investigators search AfD state office

The AfD in Lower Saxony is suspected of having received party donations into a private account. The AfD state leader spoke of a “smear campaign”.

In connection with investigations into suspected illegal party financing, investigators searched the state office of the Lower Saxony AfD and the rooms of an AfD district association in Hanover on Wednesday. This was announced by a spokeswoman for the Hanover public prosecutor’s office. The AfD itself also confirmed the searches.

According to the AfD, the investigation is directed against its deputy head of state, Ansgar Schledde. A spokeswoman for the public prosecutor’s office said that it was an investigation against “a member of the state parliament” on suspicion of violations of the party law. Accordingly, donations intended and used for party purposes were received in a private account but were not forwarded to the party. The spokeswoman did not give a name. The presumption of innocence applies.

Suspicion: Party donations to AfD not noted in reports

According to them, there is a suspicion that these party donations did not appear in mandatory party financing reports that all parties represented in parliament must publish. These may be incomplete, which in turn constitutes a criminal offense.

On the other hand, the suspect may not have included expenses he made for the party in the party’s annual report. This could be a violation of Section 31d of the Political Parties Act, which is punishable by up to three years in prison or a fine.

AfD state leader Frank Rinck spoke of a “smear campaign” against his party. “The allegations made against my deputy Ansgar Schledde have no basis,” he said in Hanover. The house search was “completely disproportionate.” The AfD itself is interested in clarification and therefore guarantees “full cooperation”.

According to the public prosecutor’s office, the Lower Saxony state parliament had granted the necessary approvals to the AfD before the search. A decision on immunity issues was made in its plenary session on Wednesday, the spokeswoman said. The state parliament met as planned for the meeting anyway.

Source: Stern

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