Police investigating Russian interference operation search European Parliament — Novaya Gazeta Europe
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Police investigating Russian interference operation search European Parliament

Police investigating a suspected Russian interference operation conducted through the now sanctioned media outlet Voice of Europe searched offices in the European Parliament in both Strasbourg and Brussels on Wednesday, according to French daily Le Figaro.

Searches were conducted at the home and office of Guillaume Pradoura, who works as an assistant to Dutch far-right MEP Marcel de Graaf, and who was previously assistant to Maximilian Krah of the German far-right AFD, who is himself being investigated for suspected links to both Russia and China.

An investigation was opened by the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office in April after a Moscow-financed influence network within the European Parliament was allegedly discovered operating through the media outlet Voice of Europe, which is now banned from broadcasting in the EU.

“The searches are part of a case of interference, passive corruption and membership of a criminal organisation and show signs of Russian interference, whereby members of the European Parliament were approached and paid to promote Russian propaganda via the Voice of Europe ‘news website’,” prosecutors said, adding that they believed Pradoura had “played a significant role in the affair”.

The searches were carried out less than two weeks before European parliamentary elections on 6–9 June, which, according to Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo, the Moscow-funded network intended to influence.

“The objective is to help elect more pro-Russian candidates to the European Parliament and to reinforce a certain pro-Russian narrative in that institution,” de Croo said last month following the launch of an investigation into Voice of Europe by the Czech authorities.

De Graaf responded to news of the raids on X by categorically denying the accusations against him. “I have no involvement whatsoever in any so-called Russian disinformation operation. I have my own political beliefs and I proclaim them. That is my job as a MEP,” he wrote.

“As far as I can tell, these actions by the authorities seem to be aimed mainly at the Alternative for Germany due to fears of good election results,” he concluded.

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