Germany′s AfD party fined over €400,000 for illegal campaign financing | News | DW | 16.04.2019
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Germany's AfD party fined over €400,000 for illegal campaign financing

The far-right party has been hit with a hefty fine in connection with illegal campaign funds donated to two of its officials during 2016 and 2017 state election campaigns. At issue is the source of the donations.

The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party was fined €402,900 ($455,548) by German parliament's administrative authority on Tuesday.

The fine is related to illegal campaign funds for two of the party's officials.

Read more: AfD scandal: Party sent wrong donor names to German parliament

Illicit campaign financing:

  • The campaign funds originated from Swiss public relations agency Goal AG.
  • German parties and candidates are not permitted to receive donations from non-EU entities.
  • The funds were used to finance state election campaigns in 2016 and 2017 for national chairman Jörg Meuthen and national board member Guido Reil.
  • AfD co-leader Alice Weidel could also be fined for receiving illegal funds, again from Switzerland, where she lived for years.
  • The court set the fines to total three times the amount of the illegal donations.
  • Both Meuthen and Reil are running for German seats in the European parliamentary elections slated for May.

Read more: Euroskeptic, anti-immigrant parties team up for EU election

Watch video 26:02

AfD's Georg Pazderski | Conflict Zone

'Financial damage'

A Bundestag administration spokeswoman said authorities confirmed the monetary donations should have been refused by the German politicians because "the donors were not identifiable at the time the donations were accepted."

A group of AfD politicians have said they believe candidates and party members "who personally benefit" from illicit donations should be "personally held responsible for the financial damage they cause the party."

Read more: Who votes for Germany's far-right party AfD? Not who you'd think 

Not the first time

This is not the first time the far-right party has been embroiled in a campaign financing scandal. The AfD claimed in February that a Swiss pharmaceutical company had transferred money to Weidel's campaign on behalf of 14 people with EU citizenship.

Weidel's campaign reportedly spent the donation of roughly €130,000 on social media advertising and legal fees. However, her campaign later returned the funds after media allegations that the donors were only approached by the AfD afterwards, and were paid to say they donated.

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ls/msh (AFP, dpa)

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