A Dutch foundation named Stichting Identiteit Europa is now thought to be one of the foreign charities which sent money to German far-right party AfD, the leader of which is now under investigation for accepting foreign donations.
The Financieele Dagblad said on Thursday that the Dutch foundation, set up by a retired entrepreneur named Floris Berkhout, his wife and brother, had sent the money to the AfD but that is was returned.
‘I made the deposit on behalf of the foundation, but it came back by return post,’ Berkhout told the paper. Berkhout said that the foundation had been established out of ‘idealistic motives’ to have voice, given ‘all the influence from elsewhere’ and ‘uncontrolled immigration’.
German prosecutors said on Wednesday that Alice Weidel, the parliamentary group leader was under suspicion of breaching the country’s tough laws on political spending. Germany restricts foreign donations from non-European Union countries to German citizens living outside the EU.
According to German media, the AfD says the investigation relates to donations from Switzerland and Belgium, the Belgian donation of €150,000 coming from a foundation named Identiteit Europa.
However, that foundation now transpires to be Dutch, not Belgian. Berkhout told the FD he did not understand the link with Belgium.
Rather than by return of post, as Berkhout claims, the AfD says it returned the full amount in May, three months after receiving it.
The Identiteit Europa foundation’s website links to another website named European Identity which is also based in the Netherlands and collates articles about migration issues.
That website states the responsibility for the website is with AMR Consultants, a Rotterdam organisational consultancy run by Charles Berkhout, according to Chamber of Trade documents.
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