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Far-right German political party fined over illegal donations

Alice Weidel and her AfD political party had denied any impropriety over the donations. Keystone / Henning Kaiser

A German political party with a far-right agenda has been fined more than €500,000 (CHF540,000) for accepting illegal donations, partly from a Swiss-based pharmaceutical company.

This content was published on November 20, 2020 - 11:13
swissinfo.ch/mga

More than €130,000 was paid in installments from Swiss accounts for the benefit of prominent Alternative for Germany (AfD) politician Alice Weidel, the German authorities have found. The party was also found to have illegally accepted a separate sum to fund a political event. Part of this €36,000 funding came from a Swiss-based PR company.

The AfD party, which denied the charges, has been fined a sum totaling three times the value of the illegal donations following a two-year investigation by the German authorities.

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.

According to the German media publication SPIEGEL and broadcaster ARD, a German billionaire real estate mogul who lives in Zurich was behind the “Campaign donation Alice Weidel” payments. The sum was spilt into several smaller tranches and paid through the pharmaceutical firm to avoid detection.

German investigators received help in their investigation from Switzerland after submitting a formal request for mutual legal assistance.

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