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Media: FBI questioned far-right German lawmaker over suspected Russian funding

by Martin Fornusek April 17, 2024 7:20 PM 2 min read
Maximilian Krah, a candidate from Saxony for the European Parliament for the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) political party, speaks at an AfD election campaign rally prior to the European parliamentary elections on May 23, 2019, in Goerlitz, Germany. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
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America's Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) questioned far-right German lawmaker Maximilian Krah last December in New York over suspicion that he was receiving money from Kremlin agents, an investigation by Spiegel and ZDF published on April 16 uncovered.

Krah confirmed he was interrogated by the FBI in a comment for Spiegel but denied being financed by Russia.

Krah, who is the top candidate of Germany's far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party for European elections, has already been mentioned in connection with Czechia's crackdown on a Russian disinformation network that reportedly sought to influence EU politics.

The Czech counter-intelligence service said that the Kremlin used the Voice of Europe website to promote pro-Russian narratives and fund Moscow-friendly politicians.

An earlier investigation by Spiegel said that Krah's colleague from AfD, Petr Bystron, was one of those who received funds from Russia. Both Krah and Bystron also gave interviews to Voice of Europe.

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The latest investigation by Spiegel and ZDF said that Krah was questioned by the FBI when he visited New York to attend a gala for young Republicans in December 2023. The lawmaker was detained by U.S. authorities before departure, who suspected Krah had received Russian money via Oleh Voloshyn, a former Ukrainian pro-Kremlin lawmaker.

Spiegel said that the American investigators had access to Krah's chat messages with Voloshyn, where the German lawmaker was promised "compensation" for "technical expenses," with wording suggesting that the payments had been going on for some time.

Krah denied receiving any money from Voloshyn and said the messages must have been misinterpreted due to the latter's poor English language skills.

Probes into Russian influence are also underway in Belgium. The country's Prime Minister Alexander de Croo said that the Kremlin hopes to bring pro-Russian politicians into the European Parliament.

The vote for the EU's legislature is scheduled to take place between June 6 and 9.

How Czechia busted Russian propaganda network targeting European elections
The Czech government announced on March 27 that it had uncovered a Moscow-financed propaganda network that sought to influence European politics and turn public opinion against aiding Ukraine. Prague named Viktor Medvedchuk, a Kremlin-linked former Ukrainian oligarch, and Artem Marchevskyi, a media…

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