European Parliament urges investigation into alleged Russian bribery of MPs by former Ukrainian MP


European officials have accused Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk of bribing politicians as part of a Russian influence operation ahead of the European elections, The Financial Times reported on March 29.

Fears of Russian interference have increased in the run-up to the European Parliament(EP) elections in June.

According to polls, the electorate is leaning toward far-right parties, which are more skeptical of supporting Ukraine.

According to informed on the investigation person, Russia mostly paid, for example, for politicians participation in discussion forums, rather than directly paying for their votes or speeches in parliament.

Read also: Russia paid MEPs to spread propaganda — Belgian PM

"We're dealing with disinformation, not espionage," said person, who prefered to stay anonymous because he was not authorized to discuss the investigation.

Czech officials said the investigation was conducted in cooperation with the security services of Belgium, Netherlands, Hungary, Germany and Poland.

Polish authorities confirmed that they had raided and seized tens of thousands euros and dollars in cash as part of the March 27 operation.

European Parliament President Roberta Mecola also warned EU leaders of the danger at last week's summit.

"We are seeing attempts to promote disinformation and propaganda in many countires, coming from actors hostile to the European project," she said.

"This is a threat that we must be prepared for."

Read also: US imposes sanctions for spreading Russian propaganda in Latin America

European Parliament officials said they were discussing the allegations, but investigation could take months.

DW writes that on March 29, several members of EP demanded an investigation into Russia's bribery of European politicians. According to their statements, Czech authorities disclosed a bribery scheme related to the Voice of Europe website.

In particular, in a letter to Metzola, the head of the Renew Europe and France EP faction, Valérie Ayer, demanded an "immediate and transparent" internal investigation into the matter, noting that if current members of EP or candidates in the upcoming elections took money from the Russian government or its proxies, they should be exposed and action taken against them.

Czech authorities claimed to have uncovered a "Russian-funded influence network" that was involved in spreading Russian propaganda in Europe and bribing European politicians.

As it turned out, Voice of Europe news site is part of the scheme, and Viktor Medvedchuk is at the center of the network.

Read also: Macron tries to battle back against far-right National Rally party ahead of EU elections

Voice of Europe website regularly published calls from European politicians to stop helping Ukraine, and some of the authors of these calls, according to the Czech publication Denik N, were paid for it.

According to the publication, these are politicians from Germany, Belgium, France, Hungary, Netherlands, and Poland. In particular, website published interviews with members of the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany party, member of EP Maximilian Kra and Petr Bystron, who is the member of the Bundestag.

Read also: EU Parliament tightens punishment for bypassing sanctions against Russia

German authorities have already expressed their concern over the Czech investigation.

Earlier, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Kroo also said that members of EP received money from Russia for spreading propaganda.

Czech Foreign Ministry imposed sanctions against Viktor Medvedchuk on March 27. The ministry's press release states that Medvedchuk led an "operation of Russian influence" from Russia in the Czech Republic through Voice of Europe.

Voice of Europe's website is currently unavailable, and the social network X has not posted a single post since that day.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine