12 JAN 2011
The EU's financial watchdog has systemically "sabotaged" investigations and caved into intimidation from countries including France and Italy to cover up fraud, according to a senior official.
By Bruno Waterfield | Telegraph
Maarten Engwirda, a former Dutch member of European Court of Auditors for 15 years, who retired 10 days ago, has alleged that abuse of EU funds was swept under the carpet by an auditing body that was supposed to expose wrongdoing.
"There was a practice of watering down if not completely removing criticism," he told the Dutch Volkskrant newspaper yesterday.
Slim Kallas, the European Commission's vice-president, who was responsible for anti-fraud measures from 2004 to 2010 and who is now the EU transport chief, is accused of putting "heavy pressure" on investigators to tone down findings of abuse.
Marta Andreasen, a Ukip MEP and a member of the European Parliament's budgetary control committee, that she had come under "huge pressure to conceal the truth about EU expenditure" before being sacked as the commission's chief accountant for whistle-blowing in 2002.
"I witnessed the arm twisting of the Auditors each time they attempted to reveal the failures in the EU accounting and control systems. They came under huge pressure to keep the accountancy fraud hushed up," she said.
"Sadly the auditors did not support me when I stood up in defence of European taxpayers. In my opinion the court is not an independent body."
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