Wednesday

29th Jun 2022

Fresh financial scandal hits EU parliament

  • The European Parliament is seen as dragging its feet over internal reforms (Photo: EUobserver)

A fresh row broke out on Monday as allegations of embezzlement to the tune of €40,000 by a Romanian far-right MEP came to light - just days after the working group on transparency finalised a code of conduct following a cash-for-amendments scandal in March.

In a letter sent to the European Parliament's administrative services, Romanian MEP assistant Catalin Marin claims that he never received any payment from his boss Corneliu Vadim Tudor, for whom he worked as a locally employed assistant in Romania.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"From July 2009 until today I have not received any sum of money for the work I did as an a locally hired assistant to the parliamentary office of Tudor," the letter reads.

Marin claims that he was stunned to find out in June, while trying to get a loan from a Romanian bank, that his signature was forged on three working contracts and that he was supposed to pay taxes for some €40,000 that he supposedly cashed in since 2009.

After filing a criminal complaint with the Romanian police for forgery and embezzlement, the assistant is asking the European Parliament to send him any documents proving that he was hired or fired as a local assistant.

Tudor retorted violently in a phoned-in tv intervention on Monday night, calling Marin "a stupid moron" whom he helped because his father used to be a "decent spy".

Romania's Communist intelligence service, the infamous Securitate, used to be one of the most dreaded repression tools behind the Iron Curtain.

"I would strangle him with this hand, which supposedly forged his signature," the far-right leader threatened, calling the whole case a "politically motivated" affair.

These fresh allegations come just as the European Parliament is trying to recover from the so-called cash-for-amendments scandal in March, when Sunday Times journalists posing as lobbyists videotaped three MEPs willing to take money for amendments.

Two of them - Ernst Strasser from Austria and Zoran Thaler from Slovenia - resigned immediately.

But Romanian MEP Adrian Severin who had invoiced the journalists for his 'extra work', kept his seat and has signed in this week during the plenary session in Strasbourg, despite having his immunity stripped and an ongoing criminal investigation by the Romanian anti-corruption prosecutors.

A new Code of Conduct for MEPs banning any side activities and pressing for more transparency in their expenses is to be adopted by the end of the year. But experts are sceptical that this paper will work, so long as there is no strong will to enforce and to sanction wrongdoings - a point where the EU Parliament so far has been dragging its feet.

Natacha Cingotti from Friends of the Earth Europe - an NGO pressing for more transparency in EU institutions - told this website that "is impossible to assume that all MEPs automatically behave in an ethical way, and this is why tight rules and related monitoring and enforcement mechanisms are needed."

If the Tudor case proves to be true, Cingotti says, this will only widen even more the "gap" between citizens and the EU bodies. "It's odd that these people who are elected directly by the citizens seem to care so little about their constituencies," she said, pointing to comments made by Severin that his behaviour was "normal".

EU opens door to Ukraine in 'geopolitical' summit

EU leaders will also discuss eurozone issues with European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde, as more and more leaders are worried about voters' distress at soaring inflation.

Opinion

The euro — who's next?

Bulgaria's target date for joining the eurozone, 1 January 2024, seems elusive. The collapse of Kiril Petkov's government, likely fresh elections, with populists trying to score cheap points against the 'diktat of the eurocrats', might well delay accession.

News in Brief

  1. New president for European Committee of the Regions
  2. Gas flows from Spain to Morocco, after Western Sahara row
  3. BioNTech, Pfizer test 'universal' coronavirus vaccine
  4. UK sanctions second-richest Russian businessman
  5. Hungary permits emergency supervision of energy firms
  6. Bulgaria expels 70 alleged Russian spies
  7. EU Commission told to improve CAP data analytics
  8. Scotland pushes for second independence vote in 2023

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  2. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  4. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022
  5. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBHow price increases affect construction workers
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic think tank examines influence of tech giants

Latest News

  1. EU Commission says it cannot find messages with Pfizer CEO
  2. EU ministers sign off on climate laws amid German infighting
  3. EU presidency still looking for asylum relocation pledges
  4. Finland and Sweden to join Nato, as Erdoğan drops veto
  5. The euro — who's next?
  6. One rubicon after another
  7. Green crime-fighting boss urgently required, key MEP says
  8. G7 leaders want price cap on Russian oil

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us