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German man leaves €7 million fortune to far-right AfD

February 15, 2020

An engineer who died in 2018 has donated his entire estate of gold, property and patents to the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. The endowment is one of the largest ever given to a German political party.

AfD and Euros
Image: imago/Steinach

A man who died two years ago left his entire €7 million ($7.5 million) fortune to the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), the party has confirmed.

A report by the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung said the man's fortune comprised real estate, gold bars and gold coins. He also owned multiple patents, which were included in the will. 

The party later confirmed it had accepted the multi-million dollar gift from the former engineer, having already hinted at a party convention in December of a "very interesting" item sitting in the party's coffers. 

Local media reported that the donor lived in a modest apartment in Bückeburg, located in rural Lower Saxony between Hanover and the Ruhr area.

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The reports say man's will listed no other inheritor besides the AfD — a party that, until recently, no other major German party would work with due to its far-right platform

The public prosecutor's office in Bückeburg told Germany's DPA news agency on Friday that a will was found at the man's house following his death in July 2018.

DPA cited the prosecutor's office saying the document was passed to the probate court for processing.

Süddeutsche Zeitung said the sum of the inheritance is by far the largest amount ever given to the party. 

The actual worth of the inheritance could have accrued value since 2018, as the value of gold has increased by 20%.

AfD strapped for cash?

The AfD has recently been in dire financial straits in the wake of an ongoing campaign finance scandal. Several of its top-ranking members are accused of violating German campaign finance law by failing to disclose the origin of donations and contributions.

In late 2019, the party issued a call for donations from party members, as it sought to build a war chest to pay the heavy fines it could face. 

Read moreAfD scandal: Party sent wrong donor names to German parliament

The AfD's treasurer, Carsten Hütter, said in a statement that the €7-million estate had already been listed in the AfD's 2018 accountability report.

However, Hütter said that at the end of 2019, "it was not yet clear" if the party would be able to dispose of the estate in full, according to Germany's DPA press agency. 

Hütter added that the man was not known by AfD functionaries in Lower Saxony to be a supporter or member of the party.

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Wesley Rahn Editor and reporter focusing on geopolitics and Asia