Published On: Tue, Aug 4th, 2020

EU scandal: Top MEP under investigation over alleged expenses fiddle | Politics | News

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Polish prosecutors have been handed the case involving former veteran MEP Ryszard Czarnecki. It follows an investigation into the former EU Parliament vice-president over alleged irregularities in his travel expenses and daily allowance claims by the bloc’s anti-corruption watchdog. The European Anti-Fraud Office confirmed they had passed “judicial recommendations” to Polish prosecutors.

In a statement, the institution said it had “finalised an investigation and sent its final report containing judicial recommendations concerning this case to the Polish prosecutor in May 2019”.

OLAF also “made a recommendation to the European Parliament to recover amounts unduly spent”.

It confirmed “the investigation looked into possible irregularities regarding reimbursement of travel expenses and payment of daily allowance”.

MEPs can claim for work-related trips between their home countries, and Brussels and Strasbourg to attend Parliament.

They are also given a €323 daily cash allowance, which is meant to cover extra costs associated with their jobs, such as hotel and food bills, as well as monthly General Expenditure Allowances of €4,513 to cover office costs.

According to Polish daily newspaper Rzeczpospolita, the investigation into Mr Czarnecki’s cover his expenses as an MEP between 2009 and 2014.

He allegedly handed in travel documents showing he had spent just 15 minutes in Brussels between trips.

Mr Czarnecki is a member of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party, and has been an MEP for 16 years.

Between 2014 and 2018, he served as a vice-president of the EU Parliament.

But he was booted out of the post after he called another Polish MEP a Nazi collaborator.

MUST READ: EU gravy train exposed: How MEPs spend £60m a year on their commutes

Last April Olaf announced it had uncovered a series of “financial irregularities by MEPs”.

The anti-fraud team discovered members of political parties from two different member states had broken the rules by sending part of their salary back to their national parties.

A statement said: “In the first investigation, it was established that, between 2014 and 2019, MEPs and staff working for the party delegation at the European Parliament paid contributions of over €640,000 to the national headquarters.

“In the second investigation, it was determined that between 2014 and 2019 certain MEPs each paid €3,000-4,000 per month to their party, totalling for more than €540,000 over the five-year period.”

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