Payment to neo-Nazi informer sparks anger

Payment to neo-Nazi informer sparks anger

Payment to neo-Nazi informer sparks anger

German President Gauck (R) welcomes the relatives of neo-Nazi victims. REUTERS photo

Germany’s domestic intelligence agency has come under fire for paying almost a quarter of a million dollars to a neo-Nazi informer linked to a far-right terror group.

Opposition lawmakers and anti-Nazi campaigners criticized the payments made over 18 years after they were first reported Feb. 24 by conservative weekly Bild am Sonntag.

Officials at the intelligence agency declined to comment on the report. But the head of a parliamentary committee tasked with investigating a string of murders allegedly carried out by the group says the information appears accurate.

Lawmaker Sebastian Edathy told The Associated Press today that the newspaper’s report matched information submitted to his committee. Edathy said the payments totaling $240,000 to a man identified by the newspaper as Thomas R. were “off the scale” for an informant.

Subsidies to NPD halted

Germany’s lower house of Parliament, the Bundestag, had recently halted public subsidies to the neo-Nazi party NPD over an unpaid fine. “The payments were stopped,” a parliamentary spokesman was quoted as saying by the online version of Der Spiegel newspaper, meaning the far-right party will not receive the 113,000-euro sum for the year 2012. The party did not pay a 1.27 million euro fine to the Parliament for mistakes in its accounts. All parties in Germany receive 85 euro cents for every vote they get in European, legislative and regional elections, which drops to 70 cents once they have four million votes or more, according to Agence France-Presse.

On Dec. 14, Germany’s upper house the Bundesrat started proceedings to have the NPD banned from political life over alleged links to a group accused of racist murders. A previous attempt to ban the party in 2003 failed.