For a long time, Marcus Pretzell and his wife Frauke Petry remained silent about the AfD’s donation scandals. But that’s over now: On Friday, the former head of the state in North Rhine-Westphalia made an all-round blow.
New allegations in the AfD donation affair bring several AfD politicians in need of explanation: The former head of the AfD in North Rhine-Westphalia, Marcus Pretzell, said on Friday piquant details about several AfD politicians and questionable donations. Among them are party leader Jörg Meuthen and the parliamentary group leader Alice Weidel. They received money from Switzerland and then supported Björn Höcke, who pulled the strings on the “wing”. “The price for the AfD? 30 million euros!”
You can see excerpts from Marcus Pretzell’s speech in the state parliament here or in the video above.
Pretzell: “Voluminous cover”
For this all-round attack, Pretzell used a current hour in the state parliament in Düsseldorf, which was supposed to be about the Union’s mask affair. Instead, he gave details of the role von Meuthen in the AfD donation scandal and spoke about connections from other AfD politicians to election campaigns organized by anonymous donors in support of the party.
The party has been struggling with individual donation affairs for years, and the Bundestag administration has imposed enormous fines of several hundred thousand euros in some cases. The people behind the donations have so far largely remained in the dark. The ex-AfD country chief now brought into play that the individual scandals could actually be linked. He clearly accused today’s party leadership.
“Jörg Meuthen is going to Küsnacht on December 7th, 2015. There he will be given a voluminous envelope,” said Pretzell in the plenum, who led the state association of the AfD in North Rhine-Westphalia until he left the party in 2017 and is a non-attached member of the state parliament. However, Pretzell did not provide any documents for this handover. However, the former party leader Frauke Petry, with whom he is married, also attended the meeting.
Petry incriminated Meuthen and Conle
“I’m interested in what was in the envelope?” Asked Pretzell in front of the state parliament. When asked by “Correctiv”, Meuthen replied that Pretzell’s statements were “definitely inaccurate and fictitious”.
The non-profit research agency “Correctiv” and the ZDF news magazine “Frontal21” had discovered at the beginning of March on the basis of documents and statements by Frauke Petry, how the billionaire Henning Conle senior met the then AfD boss several times and offered to actively support the AfD from 2015without appearing.
According to Frauke Petry, Jörg Meuthen was also present at one of the meetings, which is said to have taken place on December 7, 2015 in Küsnacht near Zurich. Prior to this, Petry and Meuthen had coordinated the trip there via SMS messages.
“Meuthen never had money problems again”
Pretzell mentioned in the speech that Meuthen received the envelope in Küsnacht on that very day. Pretzell did not say whether the envelope had been handed over by the billionaire. The member of the state parliament does not know what could have been in the envelope.
Shortly after the meeting, however, money worries in relation to the upcoming election campaigns were apparently resolved. In the previous weeks, Meuthen had complained of financial hardship several times in chats that were “Correctiv”. At the beginning of 2016, these worries had apparently disappeared.
Pretzell said in his speech: “From this point on, Jörg Meuthen never had any money problems again.” Before the state elections in Baden-Württemberg, in which Meuthen ran as the top candidate, he also received personal campaign help from a Swiss advertising company, Goal AG, and an association had posted large posters for the AfD.
Money for donation to the “wing”?
Both Conle and Meuthen initially expressly refused to comment on the meeting at the request of “Correctiv” and “Frontal21”. When asked directly about Pretzell’s new allegations, Meuthen merely said that they were fictitious and inaccurate.
Meuthen is currently under pressure due to research into the questionable financial aid. For the party congress in Dresden at the beginning of April, there is a motion to vote out, which is also justified by Meuthen’s role in the meeting with the billionaire.
Pretzell’s statements in the state parliament could develop additional explosive power because he named several AfD politicians for the first time in connection with the support of anonymous donors. For example, Weidel also turned to Höcke’s “wing” in a publicly effective manner and received money a little later.
“Was never about the good of the party”
And Pretzell named the presumed motives behind the donation affair: “It was never about the welfare of the party, but about the corruption of leading figures and thus the ability of the party to steer from outside.” In the end, the politicians who were close to the “wing of the party” always prevailed, said Pretzell.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that the individual illegal donations and the actions of a supporter association could be related. Political party lawyer Sophie Schönberger, head of the Institute for Political Party Law at the University of Düsseldorf, said: “So far we have had different types of donation affairs, which consist of different components. Now there is increasing evidence that it may be a single large donation affair, behind which Mr. Conle is. ”
The former AfD functionary in the Düsseldorf state parliament calls this episode: “The party will settle the bill. Transparency will be created. Your price for the AfD? 30 million euros.”
Pretzell and his wife Petry no longer belong to any party. Petry will leave the Bundestag at the end of the legislative period, Pretzell will leave parliament after the state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia in 2022.