Investigation Reveals Corruption Allegations in Vaccine Negotiations Involving Von der Leyen

World » EU | April 2, 2024, Tuesday // 17:47
Bulgaria: Investigation Reveals Corruption Allegations in Vaccine Negotiations Involving Von der Leyen @Wikimedia Commons

European prosecutors are delving into allegations of corruption surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine negotiations between European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, according to a report by Politico.

Dubbed "Pfizergate," the case was initiated in early 2023 after lobbyist Frederic Baldan raised concerns with Belgian authorities in Liège. Baldan's complaint centers on purported text message exchanges between von der Leyen and Bourla leading up to the vaccine deal.

Hungary has joined the case, raising concerns about von der Leyen's involvement, while Poland initially filed a complaint but later withdrew it under Donald Tusk's administration. However, the investigation has progressed, with European prosecutors now examining allegations of interference in public functions, deletion of SMS, corruption, and conflict of interest, directly implicating von der Leyen.

The controversy stems from a significant vaccine deal struck between the European Commission and Pfizer during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, totaling 900 million doses, with potential for additional supply.

Despite calls from political opponents for transparency, von der Leyen has maintained that all necessary information has been exchanged, deflecting direct questions about missing text messages with Burla.

While the European Prosecutor's Office previously scrutinized EU vaccine procurement, Pfizergate marks the first time it has been specifically linked to an investigation, signaling heightened scrutiny over alleged misconduct in vaccine negotiations.

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Tags: European, von der leyen, Pfizer, COVID-19

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