German far-right MEP office in Brussels searched over China spying accusations

Reactions after aide of AFD parliamentarian from Brussels has been arrested, accused of spying for China

BERLIN (Reuters) -German prosecutors ordered a search of the Brussels offices of a member of the European Parliament for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) on Tuesday after an aide was arrested in Germany last month on suspicion of espionage for China.

The case of the aide to Maximilian Krah has fueled concern about Europe being a target for Chinese spying activities. Germany last month also arrested three people over funnelling sensitive technology to China for military purposes.

Beijing has denied the accusations of espionage in Europe.

"The measures are part of the proceedings against Jian G. on suspicion of acting as an intelligence agent," the German prosecutors said, adding that authorities had searched both Krah's office and that of the former aide.

One of the former aide's flats in Brussels had been searched on April 24, added the prosecutors in Karlsruhe.

Krah confirmed the searches of his former aide's office on social media platform X.

"This was to be expected after his arrest and is therefore not at all surprising... Neither I nor other employees are affected," he wrote.

At the time of the arrest, Krah said he learned of the arrest from the media and denied personal wrongdoing.

The arrest of Krah's aide has dented support for the AfD in opinion polls ahead of elections for the European Parliament in June. Krah is the AfD's lead candidate.

A Forsa poll showed the AfD slipping one percentage point from a week ago to 15%, its lowest level in a year.

(Reporting by Madeline ChambersEditing by Miranda Murray and Gareth Jones)