PracticeAuditReport uncovers MEP expenses abuse

Report uncovers MEP expenses abuse

The report contains details of several MEPs who diverted hundreds of thousands a year to 'providers' who are supposed to be accountants, professionals or companies delivering administrative services

A secret European Union report has revealed widespread criminal abuse of
staff allowances by members of the European Parliament, worth nearly £100m a
year.

Senior MEPs made attempts to hush up the internal audit that uncovered the
misuse of funds, which amounted to about £125,000 for each of the 785 MEPs who
constitute the parliament.

The report, by the internal auditor, is understood to contain details of
several MEPs who diverted hundreds of thousands a year to ‘providers’ who are
supposed to be accountants, professionals or companies delivering administrative
services.

However, in many cases, the entire allowance is paid to a single individual
or MEP’s member of staff – some of which appear suspicious as they are twice as
large as the £61,820 salary paid to a British MEP.

Yet some of the MEPs who made the claims either had just one member of staff
or none at all.

A source who read the report said: ‘Some service providers simply do not
exist. Others are individuals that work for or are dependent on the Euro-MP.’

Last week the Dutch finance minister refused to sign off the EU’s accounts
over concerns that that national governments are not taking enough
responsibility for the European money they spend.

The extent of the abuse is so severe that parliamentary authorities are
understood to be ‘terrified’ by the contents of the report, and have therefore
sought to prevent it being published or getting into any public forum.

Secretary-general of the European Assembly, Harald Rømer, was asked late on
Monday night to take measures to ensure there was no ‘collateral damage’ from
the report. The request was made by the Assembly’s president, Gert Pöttering.

The only individuals allowed to view the report are those on the parliament’s
budget control committee, who have to make applications to enter a ‘secret room’
protected by biometric locks and security guards. Those who view the report are
not allowed to take notes and have to sign a confidentiality agreement.

A parliamentary spokesman denied the cover-up, which has not named
individuals, following enquiries from
The
Daily Telegraph
.

Further reading:
Dutch
refuse to sign off EU accounts
Fraud probe into MEPs’ expenses
EC launches crackdown on funding

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