The Belgian Prosecutor's Office investigates a plot of Russian interference within the Eurochamber by way of the intense proper | EUROtoday

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The Brussels Federal Judicial Policeby order of an investigating decide, carried out a number of searches this Wednesday on the residence of an worker of the European Parliamentin addition to in its workplaces, each within the Belgian capital and in these of Strasbourgin collaboration with Eurojust and the French authorities. Although the official assertion doesn’t specify it, the French and German press have recognized the suspect as Guillaume Pradouraassistant to the Dutch populist deputy Marcel de Graaff. Pradoura, additionally a former assistant to Marine Le Pen's National Front when it was nonetheless referred to as that, made headlines in 2019 when {a photograph} of him in disguise was launched, in what was clearly perceived as an “anti-Semitic caricature.”

The operation is framed, in response to the Prosecutor's Office, in a case of “interference, passive corruption and membership in a criminal organization and is related to indications of Russian interference, through which members of the European Parliament were contacted and paid to promote Russian propaganda through news website ‘Voice of Europe’. “There are indications that the European Parliament worker in query performed an necessary position on this,” the statement said.

In April, the Prime Minister, Alexander De Croo, noted that the Belgian intelligence services had confirmed the “existence of a community of pro-Russian interference in a number of European international locations” that is “topic to prosecution” in the country, following the notice of the Czech authorities. According to the Belgian premier, deputies and assistants would have received cash payments to influence the Eurocmara and “promote their propaganda.” “Cash funds didn’t happen in Blgicahowever the interference is,” said De Croo.

Voice of Europe is a website that makes massive propaganda in favor of Kremlin under a mask of Eurocritical information. This same week, the European Union has imposed sanctions on the firm and two related businessmen, Viktor Medvedchuk y Artem Marchevskyiexpanding the sanctions imposed by the Czech Republicsince the company is based in Prague

'Voice of Europe' – which says on its website that it “covers information and politics from Europe and past” – dismissed the action as an EU attack on freedom of expression. The Czech Republic denounced in March that the website was financed by Medvedchuk, a pro-Kremlin businessman and former Ukrainian legislator, who was sent into exile in Russia in 2022 in exchange for Ukrainian prisoners of war, explains Reuters.

A few weeks ago, Politico, a leading media outlet in Brussels, reported that the 50 videos on the Voice of Europe channel on YouTube included interviews with 16 MEPs, all from the political groups. ECR e ID, those who are further to the right of the ideological arc and framed between Euroscepticism and Europhobia. Deputies left comments like “I hope Ukraine lose the struggle”, a literal quote from Marcel de Graaff, the Dutchman mentioned above and for whom Guillaume Pradoura, the one formally investigated, works.

It was he, De Graaf through his assistant, who requested the use of the Eurocamera studios to make the videos in public facilities in at least three panels. For a fourth, the one who made the reservation was the German Maximilian Arm, who had to resign from the leadership of the Alternative for Germany candidacy last week due to the pressure generated by his comments in the Italian press about the role of the SS. An incident that led to the expulsion of the ID group from the party.

Politico's analysis of the 50 videos on the channel, which has just 351 subscribers on YouTube and just 60,000 views since last summer, made the general line clear. Several of the lawmakers ruled out the possibility of Ukraine joining the EU, blaming Kiev for the start of the war, speaking at length about corruption in Ukraine and military difficulties on the front, advocating for urgent peace talks. . The deputies, in addition, opposed the sending of more weapons to Ukrainewhile asking Zelensky to make concessions to prevent the conflict from “escalating.

Among the MPs interviewed individually by Voice of Europe, which later eliminated the content material after the article was revealed, have been Spanish Jorge Buxad y Hermann Tertsch, by Vox. The first was absent “for health reasons” in one of many final resolutions condemning the Russian aggression in Ukraine, and abstained in the latest one, within the final plenary session of the legislature, on Russian interference within the European Parliament and within the subsequent elections. Precisely due to “the partiality of the resolution, which denounced the deputies who had participated in the Voice of Europe gatherings (before the alleged connections of this medium were known), the references to the “excessive proper” and Fidesz, everything This while ignoring that the greatest supporter of Russia in Europe has been Merkel or former Chancellor Schroeder and their ties with Russian oil companies,” they clarify within the Vox delegation.

Tertsch, nevertheless, and as Politico highlighted, was one of many few who within the interview with Voice of Europe brazenly distanced himself from Putin and Russian overseas coverage.