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" The European Union has once again been rocked by a serious scandal that could further damage its image. Amidst the war in Ukraine and at a time when inflation remains one of the main concerns of European citizens, we learn that there are suspicions of fraud surrounding the Covid funds allocated to member states.

This is the revelation on 28 April by media outlet Politico. According to this source, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) is seriously investigating the funds allocated to member states, which amount to 724 billion euros.

In its 28 April article, Politico says it spoke to OLAF's press officer, who made an important revelation. "OLAF is currently investigating the Covid funds allocated to member states. A number of investigations related to allegations of irregularities are currently ongoing (...)," he said, declining to disclose the names of the countries involved.

Although the European Anti-Fraud Office categorically refuses to disclose the names of the countries involved, an investigation launched last year by the European Public Prosecutor's Office has already identified four countries: Italy, Romania, Portugal and Croatia.

As a reminder, this is not the first time the European Union has been named in such scandals. In December 2022, European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen was named in a serious scandal involving Greek politician Dimitris Avramopuoulos, former European commissioner.

According to several Italian media outlets, Avramopuoulos allegedly received €60,000 for his activities within the NGO Fight Impunty, which is at the centre of the corruption scandal that has rocked Brussels for several days. This information was relayed by media outlets and and confirmed by Dimitris Avramopuoulos himself.

According to media outlet La Stampa, Avramopuoulos received this amount to participate in two events. The main stakeholder does not deny this. But in his statement, he blames Von Der Leyen, the current president of the European Commission, for approving everything. "I had Von Der Leyen's approval," he says.

And Avramopououlos specifies his remuneration within the NGO: "Between February 2021 and February 2022, I received a duly declared remuneration of about 60,000 euros. The monthly payment was 5,000 euros, which was taxed in Greece. My net monthly income at Fight Impunity was 3,750 euros," he indicates.

The other scandal surrounding this affair is that the European Commission gave Avramopououlos written authorization to participate in these events on behalf of Fight Impunity, an NGO which, however, does not appear in the EU's transparency register. This was revealed by Italian media outlet

Talking about Avramapououlos' €60,000, the same source confirms the Stampa newspaper's information in the following terms: "Von der Leyen had indeed authorized him to receive compensation for carrying out "awareness-raising campaigns, such as publishing articles, participating in conferences, launching events, giving interviews". But as said, his work was limited to two conferences and one article in one year, all for 60,000 euros.

Commenting on the publication of this compromising information, Avramopoulos denounced a campaign orchestrated against him from Italy. "It is a plot by certain (Italian) circles to tarnish the image of my candidacy as EU special representative for the Persian Gulf. In Brussels, everyone knows that I am the favorite for this post," he defended himself.

In this link the original article from Politico:

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