Voice of Europe
Credit: Voice of Europe / X

EU Parliament member suspected of being paid to promote Russian propaganda

Police in Belgium and France searched the properties and office of an employee of the European Parliament suspected of receiving money from Russia to promote its propaganda via a controversial news website.

According to a report by the Dutch public broadcaster NOS, the employee under investigation is Guillaume Pradoura, who works for lawmaker Marcel de Graaff of the far-right Dutch party Forum for Democracy.

In his statement on X on Wednesday, de Graaff said that he learned about the so-called “Russiagate case” through the media. 

“The authorities have not contacted me or him [Pradoura]. To me, this all comes as a complete surprise,” he wrote, adding that he is not involved in any Russian disinformation operation.

The searches were carried out as part of a Belgian federal prosecutor's office probe into a Russian interference campaign to pay European lawmakers to promote Kremlin propaganda via the Prague-based Voice of Europe news website.

In March, the Czech government said the website was used to promote pro-Russian narratives ahead of the European Parliament elections. According to investigations by the Czech outlet Denik N and Germany's Der Spiegel, the website allegedly paid politicians from Germany, France, Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Hungary hundreds of thousands of euros in exchange for promoting opposition to military aid for Ukraine.

In May, the European Union imposed sanctions on Voice of Europe and two pro-Moscow businessmen connected to it. The organization called the sanctions “a repressive attack” on freedom of speech.

“We categorically reject these sanctions, which we see as an attempt to silence dissenting voices and undermine the role of independent media,” they said.

Pradoura hasn’t publicly commented on the investigation.

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Daryna Antoniuk

Daryna Antoniuk

is a reporter for Recorded Future News based in Ukraine. She writes about cybersecurity startups, cyberattacks in Eastern Europe and the state of the cyberwar between Ukraine and Russia. She previously was a tech reporter for Forbes Ukraine. Her work has also been published at Sifted, The Kyiv Independent and The Kyiv Post.