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Lifting immunity: Searching for AfD politician Bystron

Lifting immunity: Searching for AfD politician Bystron

As of: May 16, 2024 at 12:38 PM

AfD lawmaker Bystron has long been suspected of receiving money from Russia. Now the Bundestag has lifted his immunity – as investigators have searched several items. Charges: bribery and money laundering.

Due to initial suspicions of bribery and money laundering, the Munich Public Prosecutor's Office launched investigations against AfD member of the Bundestag Peter Bystrun and searched several properties.

According to official information, eleven prosecutors and about 70 police officers from the Bavarian State Criminal Police Office participated in the inspections. Bystron's parliamentary office in Berlin was searched, in addition to properties in Mallorca and in the areas of Munich, Erding and Deggendorf. Officials of third parties who have not been indicted also appeared. According to investigators, documents and data were seized that “will now be evaluated with regard to evidence of guilt or acquittal.”

The Bundestag lifts immunity

The Bundestag had previously revoked Bystrone's immunity. As reported by ZDF, the Immunity Commission was informed in the morning that raids were planned. Bystron ranks second on the Alternative for Germany party's list of candidates for the European elections.

There are also allegations against the front-runner, Maximilian Krah. The Dresden Public Prosecutor's Office has launched preliminary investigations against him in connection with possible payments from Russia and China. In addition, Jian Ji, a long-time employee of KRAH, has been arrested – and is said to have spied for China.

There have been allegations against Bystron for weeks. The Czech newspaper Denek In, citing intelligence sources, reported that Bystron was suspected of receiving money from pro-Russian networks. Der Spiegel magazine also reported on possible payments from the Voice of Europe platform to an AfD politician. Several hundred thousand euros are said to have flowed to European politicians.

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Czech intelligence criminalizes Bystrun

According to media reports, the Czech intelligence service BIS was able to eavesdrop on Bystron's conversation with Ukrainian businessman Artem Marchevsky, who is loyal to Moscow. It is said that it happened in Prague. The BIS appears to have bugged Marchevski's car and thus witnessed the meeting between the two, during which money amounting to €20,000 was said to have been handed over to Bystrone. At least that's what the BIS and several MPs who listened to the recording concluded.

“Bistron is shown stealing and counting money,” says a Czech member of parliament familiar with the recording. Other sources also confirm this. The evidence incriminates Bystrone, who denies the allegations.

Increase immunity – what does it mean?
Members of the Bundestag initially enjoy immunity from criminal prosecution. This is intended to protect them from politically motivated lawsuits. However, this is not about protecting MPs from criminal prosecution, but rather about ensuring that the Bundestag remains able to perform its functions. For this reason, Parliament can lift the MP's immunity to allow investigations to take place. If there was no immunity, many members of Parliament could have deliberate political motives, thus paralyzing the Bundestag. Immunity does not apply if a person is caught red-handed committing a crime.

The Alternative for Germany party talks about “serious incident”

The AfD leadership hopes to achieve quick results in light of recent events. The leaders of the party and parliamentary group, Alice Weidel and Tino Shrubala, said, “Lifting immunity and searching Peter Bystrun’s office and private rooms is dangerous.”

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So far, no evidence has been provided for the allegations made against Bystrone for weeks.