NewsBelgian probe uncovers MEPs' ties to Russian propaganda network

Belgian probe uncovers MEPs' ties to Russian propaganda network

A Russian agent might have operated in the European Parliament. The Belgian prosecutor's office is investigating.
A Russian agent might have operated in the European Parliament. The Belgian prosecutor's office is investigating.
Images source: © Wikimedia Commons

11:27 AM EDT, May 29, 2024

Severe collaboration suspicions with Russia have fallen on several Members of the European Parliament. Belgian services searched the office and home of one of the deputies' assistants early Wednesday morning. This move by investigators is related to the likelihood of MEPs being involved in a conspiracy linked to spreading Russian propaganda.

Information about this search in the assistant's office and home in the Brussels district of Schaerbeek, along with the ongoing investigation, aims to verify suspicions of Russian interference in the European Parliament. Belgian media reported that MEPs may have been corrupted for money and induced to propagate content directed by Russian agents.

The investigation under which Wednesday's searches were conducted concerns the news portal Voice of Europe. Belgian services scrutinized the site after Czech intelligence revealed its connection to a Moscow-funded network spreading pro-Russian propaganda in March.

Several European politicians were allegedly cooperating with Voice of Europe. The money they received from Russia was purportedly used to finance their campaigns before the upcoming European elections.

According to PAP, Belgian media reported that Russia is trying to influence the European elections, which will take place in June. Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced that the federal prosecutor had initiated an investigation concerning this matter.

Russian "mole" in the European Parliament? Belgian prosecution investigates

The media did not release the name of the assistant or the MEP for whom they work. "We cannot comment on the ongoing investigation. (...) The European Parliament fully cooperates with law enforcement and judicial authorities to support the course of justice and will continue to do so. In this context, access to the office (of the assistant) was provided," the EP press services informed PAP on Wednesday.

On Monday, European Union member states approved sanctions against the Russian propaganda center Voice of Europe. The sanctions affected two individuals associated with the portal: Artem Marczewski and Viktor Medvedchuk.

Investigators are examining suspicions of paid corruption and spreading pro-Russian propaganda. In addition to searching the assistant’s office, the investigating judge also ordered a search of the assistant’s home.

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