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Police raid offices of aide to EU lawmaker over Russian propaganda

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European Parliament in Strasbourg, France (Credit: Jonas Horsch)

Belgian police have searched the home and offices of an aide to Dutch European Parliament member Marcel de Graaff over alleged involvement in the promotion of Russian propaganda, according to officials.

The Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office said police carried out searches on Wednesday at the Schaerbeek residence of a European Parliament employee and his offices at parliament buildings in both Brussels, Belgium and Strasbourg, France.

“The searches are part of a case of interference, passive corruption and membership of a criminal organization and relates to indications of Russian interference,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

The case centers on allegations that Members of the European Parliament were approached and paid to promote Russian propaganda through a news website called the “Voice of Europe.” This is alleged to have involved politicians from multiple countries.

“There are indications that the European Parliament employee concerned played a significant role in this,” the prosecutor’s office said.

While prosecutors have not yet named the suspect, Dutch lawmaker Marcel de Graaff of the far-right Forum for Democracy (FvD) party confirmed that one of his assistants, Guillaume Pradoura, was the target of Wednesday’s investigation.

“The authorities have not had contact with me or him. To me this comes as a complete surprise,” De Graaff said in a statement on social media. “Also I do not have any involvement whatsoever with a so-called Russian misinformation operation.”

De Graaff added: “As far as I can tell, this action by the authorities appears to be mainly targeted towards the AfD in fear of a good election result.”

The European Parliament election is scheduled to take place across the union in early June.

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