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EU Parliament probe: police raid targets suspected in alleged Russian interference operations ahead of elections

by Derek Andrews
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Belgian Police carried out raids on Wednesday in an investigation into alleged Russian interference inside the European Parliament, notably specializing in accusations that Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) had been paid to advertise Russian propaganda by way of the Voice of Europe website.

The raids, spanning a non-public residence in Brussels and European Parliament workplaces in Strasbourg and Brussels, had been a part of an effort to uncover people suspected of involvement on this purported scheme. Belgian legislation enforcement officers highlighted the potential significance of a parliamentary assistant with connections to the far-right Different for Germany (AfD) and at the moment employed by far-right Dutch MEP Marcel de Graaff. Nonetheless, de Graaff swiftly distanced himself from the accusations, asserting his innocence and reaffirming his adherence to private political views.

These raids characterize an important facet of a broader investigation right into a suspected Russian affect operation that allegedly compensated sitting MEPs to disseminate pro-Kremlin propaganda.

Moreover, the investigation’s deal with the Voice of Europe web site, just lately sanctioned by the European Union for disseminating Kremlin propaganda, provides one other layer to the complexity of the case. Czech authorities beforehand introduced the dismantling of a Russian affect operation carried out by Voice of Europe, implicating monetary transactions to elected officers in each the European Parliament and nationwide parliaments throughout a number of European international locations.

Among the many people scrutinized on this investigation is MEP Maximilian Krah, whose affiliation with the far-right AfD celebration, just lately expelled from its European political household on account of contentious feedback in regards to the Nazis, has been underneath scrutiny. Krah, nevertheless, refuted claims of monetary profit from his interviews with Voice of Europe, sustaining his innocence regardless of his assistant’s subsequent arrest on suspicion of spying for China.

Because the EU elections strategy, the integrity of electoral processes and a possible must fight international affect, notably in an period the place digital platforms function potent instruments for dissemination and manipulation, function underlying justifications for such investigations, says Terry Reintke, head of European Greens celebration.

Source / Picture: jurist.org

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