The lead election candidate of a German anti-immigrant party has been accused of employing a Syrian asylum seeker at her Swiss home.
According to German newspaper Die Zeit, the lead election candidate of Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) Alice Weidel employed an asylum seeker to clean her house and paid her in cash so no records existed.
The anti-immigration politician, who lives with her partner Sarah Bossard and their two children in Biel, Switzerland, reportedly paid a local student 25 Swiss francs (£19.60) per hour to clean the family home, and when she left, the job was passed on to the unnamed refugee.
When questioned about the legality of the arrangement, Dr Weidel’s lawyer told Die Zeit that the time they gave her to respond was "too short for the elaboration of relatively complex legal issues”.
But the claim is likely to raise eyebrows in Germany as it would appear to fly in the face of her own party’s anti-immigration rhetoric.
AfD, which was originally founded in 2013 by Eurosceptic academics who avowedly rejected right-wing extremism, is known for its harsh rhetoric against refugees and ethnic minorities.
In 2016, the party’s leader Frauke Petry said refugees attempting to cross the border from Austria to Germany should be shot on sight. Last month its deputy leader Alexander Gauland said Aydan Özoguz, the German-born integration minister who is of Turkish descent, should be "disposed of” back to Turkey.
Dr Weidel, 38, herself was accused of sending a racist email where she called the German government "pigs” and said the country was overrun by "Arabs, Sinti and Roma”.
German newspaper Welt am Sonntag reported that the email from Dr Weidel to an unnamed confidante on 24 February 2013 accused the government of being "puppets” of the Western Allies who defeated them in World War Two.
Dr Weidel denied the existence of the email and her lawyers claimed it was libellous to "publicly claim that our client wrote this text or even voice that suspicion”.
But Welt am Sonnetag said that it had an affidavit and other statements from people who were part of her professional network at the time who could confirm it was true.