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Zurich company accused of donating to German far-right party

Alice Weidel sees no reason to resign Keystone

A pharmaceutical company in Zurich donated more than €130,000 (CHF148,000) to the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party between July and September 2017, according to media reports. 

This content was published on November 13, 2018 - 10:37

The Swiss company allegedly paid the money in 18 instalments of usually €9,000 into the AfD’s savings account with the subject “Campaign donation Alice Weidel”, according to research by German public broadcasters WDR and NDR and the Süddeutsche Zeitung, which say they have seen the bank statements. 

Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger later reported that the payments were listed as coming from a company named PWS Pharmawholesale International AG.

Weidel has been co-leader of the AfD fraction in the Bundestag, the German federal parliament, since October 2017. She has a Swiss partner and has a second home in Biel, northwestern Switzerland. 

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.

Weidel on Monday dismissed calls from other parties' lawmakers to step down. 

“The account into which the donations were made was the regular account for the Lake Constance chapter [of the party]. The money did not go to me,” she said, explaining that she had therefore trusted the local section’s treasurer to handle the matter. The money had been paid back, she added. 

Weidel said she had no information about the Zurich company, who owned it or what their motivation was for making the donation.

Balz Jegge, director of PWS International, admitted to Swiss public television, SRF, that the money had been sent to AfD via their company's account. He said it been done as a service on behalf of a business acquaintance.

"The money was transferred to our firm from a European bank on behalf of a business friend under the proviso that it was forwarded accordingly," he said on Monday.

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