EU Anti-Fraud Head Stripped of Immunity

World » EU | March 11, 2016, Friday // 14:25
Bulgaria: EU Anti-Fraud Head Stripped of Immunity Giovanni Kessler. File photo, EPA/BGNES

Giovanni Kessler, the head of EU anti-fraud authority OLAF, has had his immunity from prosecution lifted, EU authorities have confirmed.

He is to be inquired by Belgian authorities in relation to a lobbying scandal dating back to 2012 in which he is suspected of involvement for unlawfully recording a phone conversations.

An inquiry from Politico revealed earlier this week a pending decision from the EU Commission to revoke his immunity had taken longer than usual.

New Europe reports the decision was taken in a restricted session of the weekly College meeting of the Commission on March 02.

Other media outlets quote Commission sources as saying the delay had been related to an attempt at applying pressure on Kessler to step down.

New Europe cites a "well-placed source" saying that EU Budget and Human Resources Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva had been offering Kessler a different position in exchange for his resignation, in a move that would have helped him keep his immunity.

In 2012, EU Health Commissioner John Dalli resigned in relation to an OLAF investigation of his possible involvement in a lobbying scandal with a tobacco company. Kessler's ties to the scandal are now to be investigated.

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Tags: Giovanni Kessler, John Dalli, OLAF
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