Wednesday

30th Nov 2022

Ex-Comissioner charged with corruption

  • EDITH CRESSON - France's first female Prime Minister and former Commissioner for Education, her actions led to the fall of the Santer Commission. (Photo: European Commission)

Edith Cresson has become the first former Commissioner to be charged with corruption.

Ms Cresson, who is also a former French prime minister, has been charged by the Belgian authorities with counterfeiting benefiting from professional contracts.

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A Commission spokesman confirmed on Tuesday that Ms Cresson received a letter from the Commission last Monday listing their allegations against her.

Parallel enquiry

That inquiry is running parallel to the Belgian judicial inquiry, which has been carried out by magistrate Jean-Claude Van Espen.

The Commission decided in January that it was going to charge Ms Cresson but took until now to make the letter "legally waterproof."

The Commission said it had not been informed of the Belgian decision but said the two actions were "completely independent."

Ms Cresson was the education commissioner from 1995-1999. She has been accused of hiring her dentist Rene Berthelot, who was allegedly paid huge sums of money for fictitious projects. These allegations were levelled at her in a report by the EU anti-fraud office.

The report led to the resignation of the whole commission in 1999.

The Commission has launched a total of eight disciplinary procedures against EU officials in light of the allegations file against Ms Cresson, seven of which are still open. The remaining file has been closed.

Commission opens Cresson investigation

The European Commission decided Tuesday to open investigations into Edith Cresson, a commissioner in the late 1990s. Mrs Cresson, a former French prime minister, was accused of corruption in a report by the EU anti-fraud office. The report led to the resignation of the whole commission in 1999.

Cresson accused of taking bribes in Elf trial

Former EU Commissioner Edith Cresson on Monday found herself involved in one of the biggest corruption scandals in France, when she was accused of taking bribes from the French oil giant, Elf-Aquitaine. The trial, investigating charges of widespread corruption at the oil firm in the early 1990s, has also heard allegations that the same firm secretly funded political parties.

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