Days ahead of state elections in Lower Saxony, the police and public prosecutor’s office in Berlin have conducted raids on Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party headquarters in the German capital.
The raids, which have been decried as politically-motivated by the AfD’s leadership, took place on Wednesday morning inside the premises of the party’s federal office in Berlin and were carried out in relation to an investigation into illegal party donations from the years 2015 to 2018, according to a press release published by public prosecutor’s office, the German newspaper Junge Freiheit reports.
The Berlin public prosecutor’s office stated that the defendants are suspected of violating “the German Political Parties Act and breach of trust, as the accounts submitted by the AfD to the president of the German Bundestag for the years 2016, 2017, and 2018, for which the accused are responsible, allegedly contained incorrect information regarding party donations.”
Specifically, the investigation targets former chairman Jörg Meuthen and the former federal treasurer Klaus-Günther Fohrman, both of whom were responsible for the AfD’s annual reports during the years in question.
Police are said to have seized documents and hard drives from the party’s headquarters in Berlin, as well as at five other locations across the federal states of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, and North Rhine-Westphalia.
Responding to the searches, AfD co-leader Alice Weidel, called the authority’s actions “extremely unusual” and “extremely disproportionate.”
Tino Chrupalla, who leads the party alongside Weidel, said: “If the public prosecutor had asked us in advance, we would have answered accordingly and made documents available,” adding that the government’s show of force would not dissuade the AfD from veering from its “clear political course.”
For his part, the federal treasurer of the AfD, Carsten Hütter, slammed the raids as “politically motivated,” adding that investigative actions had left “more than just a bad aftertaste,” in light of the state elections in Lower Saxony and the growing level of public support for the AfD’s positions.
As Hütter mentioned, the raids against the AfD, Germany’s sole conservative opposition party, come as it has witnessed its support skyrocket in recent weeks, likely due to its opposition to economic sanctions against Russia which continue to decimate the German economy. As The European Conservative has previously reported, the AfD is now the largest political party in eastern Germany, while support for the party at the national level has surged to 15%.