Germany orders search of EU parliament member offices amid espionage scandal News
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Germany orders search of EU parliament member offices amid espionage scandal

The Federal Prosecutor General authorized on Tuesday the search of the Brussels offices of Maximilian Krah, a member of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) and EU Parliament. Krah, who is the party’s lead candidate for the forthcoming European elections in June, is regarded as a pivotal witness in the investigation targeting an employee accused of espionage.

The decision to search Krah’s offices was issued in accordance with rulings from the investigating judge of the German Federal Court of Justice and a European investigative mandate. The European Parliament consented to the search of the premises and is actively collaborating with the authorities.

The search of Krah’s offices is connected to the interim arrest and residential search of his longtime employee and assistant Jian Guo. The Chinese national remains in provisional custody under suspicion of engaging in espionage for a Chinese intelligence service in an especially severe case. The investigators  accused Guo of surveilling the Chinese exile opposition and collecting intelligence on Chinese dissidents. Moreover, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office accused him of regularly disclosing information about European Parliament negotiations and decisions to the Chinese intelligence service in January 2024. The actions taken against Guo are based on legal provisions outlined in Section 99 para. 1. 1, para. 2 of the German Criminal Code.

Maximilian Krah has been a member of parliament since 2019. He has denied any involvement or prior knowledge of the espionage scandal. While Krah is not facing espionage accusations, he is being treated as a witness in the ongoing proceedings against his employee in accordance with Section 103 of the German Code of Criminal Procedure. As a member of the European Parliament he enjoys parliamentary immunity, however the search of his offices was conducted legally and in cooperation with the European Parliament.

The scandal and subsequent search of Krah’s offices have placed the AfD’s lead candidate for the upcoming European elections in an unfavourable spotlight, thereby undermining the party’s chances of success. Krah was reportedly forced to take a break during the official campaign launch to avoid further damage to the party’s image. This scandal is not the sole obstacle hindering the AfD’s election campaign.  Runner-up candidate Petr Bystron has been accused of accepting payments from Russia, according to reports from the Checz intelligence service, allegations Bystron has denied.