Frauke Petry, leader of the anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD), is under investigation over accusations of perjury, the public prosecutor’s office in Dresden said.
Petry, her party buoyed by the arrival of more than one million mostly Muslim migrants in Germany last year, is accused of lying under oath to the state electoral committee in Saxony at the end of 2015 over party financing.
Petry and fellow AfD member Carsten Huetter reportedly gave differing accounts of Petry’s knowledge of donations which the AfD demanded of its candidates in advance of state elections in 2014, according to André Schollbach, a Left Party politician who has filed a report against the AfD leader.
Petry denies the accusations, but has welcomed the investigation, which she hopes will show the weakness of the claims and “end media speculation”, her spokesman Markus Frohnmaier said.
The party has no lawmakers in the federal parliament in Berlin but has members in half of Germany’s 16 regional state assemblies and threatens to erode support for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling conservatives.
AfD party deputy Alexander Gauland said the investigation should have no impact on Petry as long as no charges are brought against her.