Saturday

30th Jul 2016

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.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceThe Trans Adriatic Pipeline: An Opportunity or a Scam in the Making for Albania?
  2. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen: I Condemn All Threats to Turkey's Democracy
  3. GoogleHelping Emergency Services Find You When You Need It Most
  4. Counter BalanceWhat's New in the Investment Plan for Europe: Business as Usual or True Innovation ?
  5. Belgrade Security ForumMigration, Security and Solidarity within Global Disorder: Academic Event 2016
  6. GoogleHow Google Fights Piracy: Creating Value While Fighting Piracy
  7. EJC"My Visit to Israel" - Opinion by MEP Lopez Aguilar, Chair of the EP Working Group on Antisemitism
  8. World VisionChildren Migrating, Out of School and at Work as Hunger Deepens in Southern Africa
  9. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceStand-Up (and Exercise) to Prevent Chronic Diseases
  10. Centre Maurits CoppietersLaunches a Real-time News Hub Specialised in EU Stakeholders
  11. GoogleEU-US Privacy Shield: Restoring Faith in Data Flows and Transatlantic Relations
  12. World VisionWorld Leaders & Youth Advocates Launch Partnership to End Violence Vs. Children

Latest News

  1. Terrorism and migration top EU public's concern
  2. Spain's Rajoy warns of minority rule
  3. Car lobby complained about emissions tampering by others
  4. Critical IMF report heralds new Greek bailout battle
  5. EU free movement must be curbed, UK says
  6. EU political pressure alone cannot save the rule of law
  7. Merkel: Attacks won't change refugee policy
  8. EU-Turkey relations after the coup