German staffer in EU parliament arrested on China spying charges

    WORLD  24 April 2024 - 03:15

    Financial Times has published an article claiming employee working for German far-right party’s lead candidate accused of passing sensitive information to Beijing. Caliber.Az reprints the article.

    Police have arrested a staffer working for a German far-right member of the European parliament on charges of spying for China.

    Jian Guo, an employee of Maximilian Krah, was accused by Germany’s federal prosecutor on Tuesday of being covertly employed by China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS).

    The arrest is the latest of several cases in which alleged Chinese spies have been unmasked in high-level parliamentary positions, including in the UK and Belgium, which have put European security authorities on heightened alert over Beijing’s increasingly aggressive attempts at political subterfuge.

    In recent weeks, German intelligence services have warned of a deteriorating security situation, with both China and Russia increasing their efforts as they seek to gain economic and technological advantages from, and political influence over, Europe’s largest economy.

    Krah is the far-right Alternative for Germany’s lead candidate for election to the European parliament in June.

    In his current position as an MEP, he sits on the EU parliament’s committee for international trade as well as the subcommittees for security and defence and for human rights.

    Guo, 43 — who was publicly identified by prosecutors only by his first name — is one of three fully accredited members of Krah’s staff, according to his parliamentary profile.

    “The allegations of espionage for China are extremely serious,” said German interior minister Nancy Faeser. “If it is confirmed that spying for Chinese intelligence services was done from the European parliament itself, then this is an attack from within on European democracy.”

    “Anyone who employs such an employee also bears responsibility for this,” added Faeser, a member of the German Social Democratic party.

    Krah said on April 23 that he had learned of Guo’s arrest from German police. “I don’t have any further information. Spying for a foreign state is a serious accusation. If the allegations prove to be true, this would result in the immediate termination of employment,” he added.

    The spy scandal is not the first to entangle the AfD: the party is still struggling to move on from accusations against its second candidate on the list for EU elections, Petr Bystron.

    Bystron is being investigated by prosecutors after reports earlier this month that he took money from pro-Kremlin Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk to spread Russian propaganda in Europe.

    Krah is also involved in that investigation. According to media reports at the weekend, western security agencies have questioned him over his connections with Medvedchuk, godfather to one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s daughters.

    AfD co-leader Tino Chrupalla said he “stood by” both Krah and Bystron on Monday before news of the Chinese spy case came to light.

    The AfD is on course to more than double its representation in Strasbourg, as it rides a tide of discontent in Germany over the government’s handling of the economy and immigration.

    Germany’s federal prosecutor said it was unclear for how many years Guo had allegedly been working for Chinese spymasters.

    A montage showing a woman’s silhouette in front of an emblem of the MSS and pages from a comic strip issued by the ministry

    It accused him of “repeatedly” passing on sensitive information about EU parliamentary negotiations and decisions to China in January this year. It also accuses Guo of gathering information on Chinese dissidents in Germany.

    Guo could not be reached for comment.

    The arrest comes a day after news that three German nationals had been apprehended in the west of Germany on charges of spying for Beijing.

    A husband and wife and a colleague of the pair were accused of conspiring to send sensitive technology to China, including a military-grade laser, using their business in Düsseldorf as a front.

    In Belgium, members of the far-right Vlaams Belang party have been accused of working for China. Late last year, the Financial Times and other media uncovered that former federal Vlaams Belang lawmaker Frank Creyelman carried out tasks on behalf of Chinese spies for years. Belgian authorities opened a criminal investigation into his case earlier this year.

    Caliber.Az

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