At the turn of the year, the SKWAWKBOX exclusively revealed that UKIP were under investigation by the EU’s OLAF anti-fraud unit for alleged fraud totalling twenty million euros – and was mocked for it as ‘fake news’.
Now that the story was considered real, Nigel Farage attempted to claim he had been exonerated – on the basis of a note from the EU’s accounting department confirming that it had received his annual accounts, which Mr Farage waved around like a golden ticket, claiming:
The European Parliament has stated that my employment of local assistants is in order and reasonable.
I would politely ask people to correct and not repeat false allegations that I am under investigation because it is not true.
It would be appreciated if people were made aware and acknowledged that I have been given the all clear.
The EU issued a furious denial that they had in any way exonerated Farage – and it now seems clear which of the two had its story straight.
Late last month, Farage complained to listeners to his regular programme on LBC radio that the EU was demanding the return of £80,000 relating to costs claimed for an assistant who had been working for UKIP:
Mr Farage presented this as persecution and ‘punishment’ by a Stalin-esque EU for his part in Brexit, claiming that his employee had simply been volunteering for UKIP.
However, the OLAF investigation was looking into allegations that Farage was claiming for salary and costs of an employee meant to be working as an MEP’s assistant in order to fund his UKIP activities, so the fact that he has been told to repay the money suggests that this is what OLAF concluded took place.
What’s more, the SKWAWKBOX understands from sources close to UKIP that the £80,000 is only the initial amount the former UKIP leader has been told to repay, so if Mr Farage felt punished by the repayment demand for £80,000, he will be smarting indeed when other amounts become due.
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