"MEP Pitera wishes to tell us how to combat fraud across Europe while having written letters at the behest of lawyers now up on a serious fraud charge in Poland. This place is like a circus and that is why people laugh at it and voted for Brexit." - UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott
• The rapporteur on a European Parliament report on combatting fraud wrote at the behest of a group of lawyers, five of whom were arrested on Friday for three months and charged with fraud which cost the Polish tax payer the equivalent of 15 million euro.
Civil Platform MEP Julia Pitera of the EPP group wrote at the request of the lawyers in 2011 to the mayor of Warsaw of the same political party requesting that two named properties be transferred to a specific law firm.
Last week this group of lawyers were arrested and charged by the Polish anti-corruption agency CBA. She has been alleged in the press to have acted as a political puppet of the lawyers.
Today in the European Parliament, the report by MEP Pitera called for greater EU powers, the support for an EU public prosecutor and greater legal harmonisation in order to reduce fraud in EU spending.
The report lays out that fraudulent irregularities cost the EU 637.6 million euro in 2015.
UKIP MEP and member of the EP’s budget control committee, Jonathan Arnott said after the vote in Strasbourg:
“You just couldn’t make up this comical hypocrisy. The MEP wishes to tell us how to combat fraud across Europe while having written letters at the behest of lawyers now up on a serious fraud charge in Poland. This place is like a circus and that is why people laugh at it and voted for Brexit.”
Because of the call for greater centralisation of EU power, both UKIP and Tories MEPs voted against the report, Labour MEPs voted in Favour.
MEP Pitera has not herself been arrested or charged in this affair.
Jonathan Arnott's speech at the debate on the report last night: