The German extreme right uses "men of straw" abroad, according to media

The German extreme right uses "men of straw" abroad, according to media



The far-right alternative for Germany (AfD) has irregularly admitted donations from Switzerland through "straw men" abroad, inform the public television ARD and the weekly "Der Spiegel".

According to both media, the training has financed electoral campaigns of some candidates with dubious funds, registered in their accounts as donations from citizens who received in exchange for this "service" about 1,000 euros in cash.

"Spiegel" specifically cites the case of a German living in the Spanish Costa Brava, whose identity is not revealed, and who has admitted receiving that money.

The "Report" program of the ARD adds another two Germans, a married couple also resident in the Costa Brava, who would also have acted as false donors for the AfD campaigns in exchange for cash.

These revelations commit the leader of the AfD, Jörg Meuthen, and add to successive information of the last weeks that point to the irregular entry of donations by the party from Switzerland.

From the direction of AfD, the third force in the federal Parliament (Bundestag) and with seats in the regional chambers of the 16 "Länder" of the country, it has been admitted that such income was not recorded correctly in its accounts, which has been attributed to "errors" due to inexperience.

Meuthen holds the party presidency with Alexander Gauland, who is also leader of the parliamentary group in the Bundestag and whom the Prosecutor's Office of Frankfurt investigates for alleged tax offense, as reported a few days ago.

The suspicions of irregular financing arose at the end of 2018, after revealing an income of 130,000 euros distributed among several payments of 9,000 euros, apparently to avoid having to declare who the donor is.

In that case joined a few weeks ago another donation also entered irregularly, for 89,000 euros, which could lead to a fine of up to 400,000 euros.

In both cases, these were donations from Switzerland, with which election campaigns of candidate candidates were supposedly financed.

The irregularity was detected by the Bundestag administration, in charge of computing, reviewing and publishing the sources of public or private financing of the parties.

The Bundestag approved in 2002 a reform of the financing of the parties – after revealing repeated scandals in the large formations-, so that from 10,000 euros the identity of the donor must be declared.

It was explicitly forbidden to split these revenues and established the obligation to immediately inform the parliamentary administration of any donation in excess of 50,000 euros.

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