An overlooked nugget of ‘news’ – and a minor triumph for the beleagured EU fraud office
An Italian politician owes the European Parliament almost half a million euros, after the EU courts this month ruled he mis-declared travel and office expenses during his time as an MEP.
Riccardo Nencini is a senator and secretary of Italy’s socialist party. He worked as a member of the European Parliament (sorry, ‘was’ a member of the European Parliament) from 1994 to 1999.
There was an investigation in 2006 by the EU’s anti-fraud office Olaf which found Nencini had declared travel expenses for living in Rome, whereas his ‘domicile’ was in Tuscany. That resulted in overcompensation of around €47 000 for his regular flights between home and his EU offices.
And Olaf found Nencini had spent another €410 000 of parliament funds on assistants he never declared.
And while the time it took for the parliament and Olaf to get around to censuring Nencini was not “beyond all criticism,” legal niceties meant Nencini still owed the cash, the court ruled.
Not sure how this pleasing little ruling escaped general attention when it came out last week.
Could have been an opportunity for Olaf to claw back some credit.
The fraud office is somewhat bruised, after its high-profile investigation into former commissioner John Dalli resulted in no prosecution when the matter reached the Maltese authorities.
Perhaps pinning €60 million on a standing commissioner was over-reaching. €456 000 on an MEP seven years out of office is far more feasible…