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Police raid center-right party’s Brussels HQ

by editor

BRUSSELS — Belgian and German police on Tuesday raided the Brussels headquarters of the conservative European People’s Party, the largest group in the European Parliament, the party said in a statement.

The police search “is connected to an ongoing inquiry in Thuringia, Germany,” the statement read.

“The party is cooperating in full transparency with the authorities involved, providing all relevant information and documentation,” it added.

When POLITICO visited Tuesday afternoon, no police activity was ongoing at EPP offices on Rue du Commerce in the European Quarter. Employees at a hotel across the street said they had not noticed anything unusual in the morning.

German outlet Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk reported that the raid is connected to Mario Voigt — leader of the state parliament group in Thuringia for Germany’s center-right Christian Democratic Union — and his involvement in the EPP’s 2019 election campaign.

The local CDU lawmaker was recruited to support the EPP’s digital campaign in 2019. According to reports, the group then awarded a contract to an internet agency based in Voigt’s home state Thuringia, from which he is later suspected of having received money. 

Since September 2022, German anti-corruption officers had been investigating Voigt on suspicion of bribery in business dealings.

An EPP official said that this is an “issue between a contractor who worked for the EPP during the 2019 campaign and one of his subcontractors in Germany.”

The Thuringian parliament’s CDU branch declined to comment on the investigation.

Voigt’s local office was unavailable for comment.

This story is being updated.

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