Germany has filed a request for mutual legal assistance with Switzerland with regard to potentially illegal donations made through a Swiss company to the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.
The Swiss media reported in November that a pharmaceutical company in Zurich had donated more than €130,000 (CHF148,000) in several instalments to the AfD between July and September 2017. The money was allegedly meant for Alice Weidel’s election campaign. She has been co-leader of the AfD faction in the Bundestag, the German federal parliament, since October 2017.
Weidel has a Swiss partner and a second home in Biel in northwestern Switzerland, although in November she said she was giving up this home.
German law only allows for party donations from outside the European Union if they are made by German citizens. Every campaign donation above €50,000 needs to be immediately reported to parliament’s president.
The Zurich-based pharmaceutical company has so far claimed that it acted as a trustee on behalf of a partner. Weidel has acknowledged to parliament that mistakes were made in the management of donations for the election campaign. She also pointed out that the disputed funds had been repaid to the Swiss company.
On Friday the Constance Public Prosecutor’s Office forwarded the request for assistance with regard to the donations to the Zurich Public Prosecutor’s Office.
“The main question is whether the facts presented would also be punishable in Switzerland,” said a spokesperson of the Zurich Public Prosecutor’s Office.