An OLAF investigation published on April 30 revealed that MEPs from two member-states breached the European Parliament’s rules by transferring part of their salaries to their national parties.
The investigation by Europe’s anti-fraud office also found that MEPs from one member state also increased the salaries of their assistants so that the latter could make additional contributions.
The first investigation that was launched in 2017 found that for the period between 2014 and 2019, MEPs and staff members of the parliament’s party delegation paid contributions of over €640,000 to the national headquarters. It was also found that the illegal move was not spontaneous, but part of an already agreed obligation, that was set out in a financial charter that the party had specifically approved for the delegation at the European Parliament. Such an arrangement is contrary to the EP rules.
OLAF concluded that sanctions should be put in place by the European Parliament for the illegal actions and for the recovery of due amounts established by the investigation.
The second investigation that was conducted a year later found that for the particular time period, the financial contributions made by MEPs exceeded €540,000, as each was requested to contribute €3,000-4,000 to the national delegation. OLAF’s investigative team also revealed that their assistants were classified as of higher grade and thus, with a higher salary, so that they are able to transfer part of their salary to the national party.
Although no evidence of MEPs coercing the assistants was found, the EP members knew this was happening and had arranged the assistants’ hierarchy upgrade.
OLAF issued recommendations to the European Parliament proposing disciplinary action to ensure that amounts transferred by the Parliamentary Assistants to the national party are recovered. The anti-fraud office also recommended that the assistants face disciplinary action for following the instructions of their party, even though these instructions put them in conflict with their statutory obligations to the European Parliament.