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Germany: search of AfD headquarters in Lower Saxony, amid accusations of embezzlement

On Wednesday April 17, police searched the office of the regional headquarters of the AfD (Alternative für Deutschland) in Hanover (Lower Saxony), Germany, as well as other party premises in the region, reports AfD radio.

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Germany: search of AfD headquarters in Lower Saxony, amid accusations of embezzlement

On Wednesday April 17, police searched the office of the regional headquarters of the AfD (Alternative für Deutschland) in Hanover (Lower Saxony), Germany, as well as other party premises in the region, reports AfD radio. German public broadcaster NDR. These searches were carried out as part of an investigation by the Hanover public prosecutor's office against the regional deputy leader of the Afd, Ansgar Schledde.

The main object of the investigation: the private bank account of Ansgar Schledde. To enable this investigation, the regional parliament of Lower Saxony unanimously lifted Schledde's immunity on Wednesday. According to Hannover prosecutor Kathrin Söfker, “donations were received in a private account and were not immediately transferred to the party”. 48,000 euros would have arrived in Schledde's private account, reveals the NDR.

Subsequently, these funds would still have been used for party-related expenses. Members of the Bundestag or state parliaments are said to have made transfers to this account, with references such as “potential congress” or even “electoral campaign”.

However, “this money does not appear in the party’s accounts”, emphasizes the Hanover prosecutor to the NDR. However, German legislation stipulates that every year, parties officially declare their income (mainly donations) and their expenses to the Bundestag.

The regional leader of the AfD in Lower Saxony Frank Rinck strongly denies these accusations, which he considers “unfounded”. He denounces “completely disproportionate” searches and a “smear campaign” just before the European elections and the party congress.

Nine members of the AfD responded collectively to the NDR on Wednesday. They confirm that there is indeed an account to which several people have made transfers. However, “not a single euro has been made available to the AfD,” they assure.

This is not the first time that Ansgar Schledde has been in the sights of justice. In 2022, a former member of the party, Christopher Emden, denounced Schledde's bank account, nicknamed according to him the “war account (a sort of “black” account, Editor's note)” of the AfD. He was allegedly asked to pay 4,000 euros into this account to guarantee himself a good place on the party list, reports the NDR. An investigation was also opened at the time against Schledde for suspicion of disloyalty, before being abandoned.

This Saturday, April 20, Schledde is standing for election as the new regional leader of the AfD at the party congress. He would replace Frank Rinck. Until a new controversy?

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