Saturday

29th Apr 2017

EU officials interrogated after anti-corruption raids

  • Normally it is EU staff from Brussels' competition unit that raid other people's premises (Photo: Wikipedia.org)

European Commission officials were being interrogated by Belgian police on Tuesday afternoon (27 March) following surprise raids by police on commission buildings.

Jos Colpin at the Brussels prosecutor's office told EUobserver the officials arrested on Tuesday are suspected of "passive corruption," or taking "bribes" from real estate and security firms.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The officials being interrogated - the number of which is not being made public - possibly "circumvented normal tendering procedures" involving the commission's representation premises in Luxembourg, France and Italy.

The civil servants are suspected of pocketing bribes from real estate and security companies in return for rewarding them contracts to rent and secure the commission buildings.

More than 150 police were involved in Tuesday's cross-border police operation, which started in the early morning and which saw searches in the commission's main Berlaymont building in Brussels, as well as in the representations in Luxembourg, France and Italy.

In total, more than 30 raids were carried out, including of "people at home," firms and banks, according to a Brussels prosecutor's office statement, with police taking several documents for investigation.

The office of a European Parliament assistant was also searched, with parliament officials however declining to comment on the reason for the apparent involvement of the assistant.

A commission spokesman confirmed the raids in commission buildings, but refused to comment on the affair other than saying the commission is "fully co-operating" in the investigations.

The EU's independent anti-fraud office, OLAF, took part in the investigations, he added.

Belgian Prosecutor Berta Bernando-Mendez started investigations into the case three years ago, leading to Tuesday's operation which was spearheaded by the Belgian police's anti-corruption unit and which also saw the participation of Italian and French police.

It will be decided before Wednesday morning 06:00 CET whether any official will be held in custody for further interrogation, Mr Colpin said.

EU starts legal action against Hungary

The EU Commission is to launch a legal probe into Hungary's attack on a Soros-funded university, but Hungary's Orban was unrepentant the he faced MEPs.

European states still top media freedom list

Nordic countries Norway, Sweden and Finland still have the world's most free media, according to Reporters Without Borders, but the overall situation is declining.

EU scrambles meeting over border chaos

The European Commission has called for a meeting this week with EU state experts, following border chaos after the launch of new rules that require systematic checks of EU citizens at the Schengen zone's external borders.

News in Brief

  1. Vote of no confidence prepared against Spanish PM
  2. Syria to buy Russian anti-missile system
  3. Germany seeks partial burka ban
  4. Libya has no plan to stop migration flows
  5. EU has no evidence of NGO-smuggler collusion in Libya
  6. Poland gets 'final warning' on logging in ancient forest
  7. Commission gives Italy final warning on air pollution
  8. Romania and Slovenia taken to court over environment policies

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCharlotte Hornets' Nicolas Batum Tells Kids to "Eat Well, Drink Well, Move!"
  2. ECR GroupSyed Kamall: We Need a New, More Honest Relationship With Turkey
  3. Counter BalanceParliament Sends Strong Signal to the EIB: Time to Act on Climate Change
  4. ACCARisks and Opportunities of Blockchain and Shared Ledgers Technologies in Financial Services
  5. UNICEFRace Against Time to Save Millions of Lives in Yemen
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  7. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  8. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  9. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  10. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  11. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  12. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process

Latest News

  1. EP chief faces questions after homophobic 'summit'
  2. EU signals Northern Ireland could join if united with Ireland
  3. One year later: EU right to open Internet still virtual
  4. Rethinking Europe's relationship with Turkey
  5. Mob storms Macedonian parliament
  6. MEPs retain secrecy on office spending
  7. May accuses EU-27 of 'lining up against Britain'
  8. Resurrected Renzi to regain leadership of Italy's ruling party