EPP’s “Holier-Than-Thou” Partisan Preaching Backfires

As the European Socialists and Democrats’ European Parliament group continues to grapple with corruption charges, the centre-right European People’s Party wasted little time in getting on the front foot. The party group pulled no punches, calling out the S&D’s “holier-than-thou” attitude and “hypocritical” lecturing.

They went further, saying “[the scandal] has a name. It has an address. And that’s the S&D group”, arguing it shows “how deep the left’s disdain for democracy is”. The criticisms even received the backing of EPP heavyweight Manfred Weber. It’s certainly a powerful line of attack…

Or at least it was. Within mere hours of the statement, the European Public Prosecutor’s office announced it was probing two MEPs. One of whom is Maria Spyraki: a member of the EPP…

Today, in accordance with the procedures laid down by Union law, the European Chief Prosecutor requested the lifting of immunity of Ms Eva Kaili, Member of the European Parliament, and Ms Maria Spyraki, Member of the European Parliament.

Based on an investigative report received from the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), there is a suspicion of fraud detrimental to the EU budget, in relation to the management of the parliamentary allowance, and in particular concerning the remuneration of Accredited Parliamentary Assistants.”

Spyraki, a former “MEP of the year”, is not even the only EPP figure to come under scrutiny. Czech MEP Tomáš Zdechovský has also been criticised for an undisclosed trip to Bahrain. Clearly Brussels’ issues with corruption are deep-rooted. To quote the EPP’s own statement, “if this is not systemic, then what is it?”

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European Parliament Expel Vice President Charged with Corruption

The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly to expel Vice President Eva Kaili over her corruption charges in the unravelling EU-Qatari scandal. 625 votes in favour, 1 against and 2 abstentions. This is just the tip of the iceberg…

mdi-timer 13 December 2022 @ 11:28 13 Dec 2022 @ 11:28 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Police Raid European Parliament Offices as Corruption Scandal Swells

The EU-Qatari corruption scandal is quickly escalating into a major headache for Brussels. Yesterday, Guido reported on the alleged bribes top EU lawmakers had pocketed from the Qatari government, including to European Parliament Vice President Eva Kaili. Then, it was claimed Belgian investigators had found cash worth €600,000 in one legislator’s apartment. Now they’ve found another bag of cash under the mattress, and the current figure is over €1 million

The police have now begun searching offices in the European Parliament, the 20th raid related to the probe since Friday. They’ve also frozen the IT resources of 10 parliamentary employees. Several Socialist and Democrat (S&D) MEPs who are not directly implicated but maintain close political ties to those charged have stood down from certain roles… including MEP Marie Arena as chair of the Parliament’s human rights subcommittee.

Unsurpringly, Brussels is in meltdown over this. European Parliament President Roberta Metsola has even warned that “democracy is under attack”. It’s turning into the biggest corruption scandal in the bloc’s history…
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Von Der Leyen Calls For New Ethics Watchdog After Massive EU Corruption Claims

Ursula von der Leyen has insisted the arrests at the top of the European Parliament are of the “utmost concern“.

This afternoon von der Leyen called on Brussels to immediately establish a new ethics watchdog after investigations uncovered jaw-dropping evidence of bribery and corruption from its lawmakers.

According to reports, four EU officials – including European Parliament Vice President Eva Kaili – have been charged with “participation in a criminal organisation” after accepting life-changing bribes from the Qatari government. Belgian police have seized cash worth €600,000 from the politicians’ apartments…

Reacting to the news that four of her EU colleagues had been coining it with the Qataris, von der Leyen said:

“The allegations are of utmost concern, very serious […] It is a question of confidence of people into our institutions and this confidence of trust into institutions needs the highest standards of independence and integrity…”

German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock added that “the credibility of Europe” is at stake. That’s putting it mildly… 

mdi-timer 12 December 2022 @ 16:08 12 Dec 2022 @ 16:08 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Rayner Promises to Follow Ukraine’s “Anti-Corruption Blueprint”

Transparency International ranks the UK as the eleventh least corrupt country in the world on their corruption perception index. Ukraine on the other hand is ranked 122nd out of 180 countries. Hardly surprising when 23% of public service users in Ukraine paid a bribe in the previous 12 months according to the anti-corruption organisation. Yet Angela Rayner reckons Britain is more corrupt than Ukraine. Bold claim.

mdi-timer 25 September 2022 @ 12:22 25 Sep 2022 @ 12:22 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
20% of PPE Contracts Might Have Been Dodgy

Amongst the highlights of Guido’s poolside reading this summer has been the National Audit Office’s report into the management of PPE contracts in the early stages of the pandemic. The report examined the gargantuan £13.1 billion worth of contracts for PPE signed by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) between March and November 2020. £2.7 billion of this was in the form of 298 up-front payments from the DHSC — and after the Government Counter Fraud body issued advice against such transactions. Probably wise advice given DHSC are still in some form of contractual dispute to a tidy sum of £2.7 billion. Transparency International go further — suggesting that up to 20% of all contracts raise ‘red flags’.

PPE bean counters have also fallen short of the mark. To date, DHSC still does not have a stock management system that enables it to accurately calculate how much PPE the government still holds in its inventory — and the report states that up to 300 million items have yet to be received. Tory Peer, Michelle Mone, has come under investigation by the National Crime Agency for alleged fraud. Guido suspects there are more investigations to come.

In January the High Court ruled that the government’s high-priority ‘VIP’ lane, which enabled ministers to refer contracts to bid though an accelerated procurement process was illegal. In response to the ruling, a government spokesperson said:

“The ruling says it is highly likely these offers would have been awarded if they were processed through other channels also used to process offers. All contracts underwent sufficient financial and technical due diligence and the court found that we did not rely on the referral to the high priority lane when awarding contracts.”

That may be, the mere existence of the “priority lane” is suspect, it pains Guido to say this, for once, Jolyon might be right

mdi-timer 1 September 2022 @ 12:00 1 Sep 2022 @ 12:00 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments