As the SKWAWKBOX reported on Monday, Nigel Farage has been complaining (video) about – and attempting to portray as Stalinist ‘punishment’ – an order from the EU to repay £80,000 in expenses he claimed for a member of staff.
This order relates to an investigation – broken as a worldwide exclusive by the this blog but subsequently reported by mainstream press – by the EU’s OLAF anti-fraud unit into alleged false claims by UKIP MEPs for the cost of staff who were actually engaged in UKIP activities in the UK, not as MEPs’ assistants.
UKIP insiders told the SKWAWKBOX that the £80,000 was just the beginning, so we asked OLAF whether the investigation into Farage and others was still ongoing.
OLAF’s press office replied that it cannot comment, to avoid the risk of prejudicing ongoing investigations and possible judicial proceedings:
We are not in a position to reply to your question. OLAF does not usually issue comments on cases it may or may not be treating. This is in order to protect the confidentiality of any possible investigations and of possible ensuing judicial proceedings, as well as to ensure respect for personal data and procedural rights..
It also took the unusual step of including a link at the end of its response to an article about the imprisonment of former UKIP MEP Ashley Mote as a result of an OLAF investigation into the diversion of €355,000 into private bank accounts:
Please see here an example of a case in which a former MEP was sentenced following an OLAF investigation: https://ec.europa.eu/anti-fraud/media-corner/press-releases/former-mep-sentenced-5-years-prison-case-triggered-olaf-investigation_en
Of course, no conclusions can be drawn from an absence of confirmation, but it does seem likely that the investigation is ongoing – if it was concluded or non-existent you would expect an agency to be free to comment. The unsolicited inclusion of detail about the imprisonment of a former UKIP MEP is also a point of interest.
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