A top EC whistleblower and a Eurosceptic MEP joined forces today to call for an investigation into the alleged misuse of British taxpayers’ money in Europe.
Marta Andreasen was sacked last week after she went public with her belief that lax accounting left the £63bn (€91.2bn) a year euro-budget “massively open to fraud”.
The former European Commission chief accountant insisted today that she did not regret her actions, over which she was dismissed following a 28-month suspension.
She joined UKIP MEP Ashley Mote to deliver documents to the Serious Fraud Office in London, which they say support a number of allegations about the EU.
They argue that the UK government is knowingly behaving in a fraudulent manner by paying money to Europe.
The papers they handed in today support allegations of institutionalised fraud and corruption at the heart of the EU, they claim.
Lack of financial control means some 95% of funds have not been accounted for and there has been no audit of the treasury for the last 14 years, they say.
They also say the EU accounting system is structurally flawed and there are seriously defective management controls.
With money in more than 200,000 bank accounts in 45 banks worldwide, inadequate accounting systems mean fraud is easy to commit and hard to detect, they claim.
Planned replacement computer systems would not solve the underlying weaknesses and the new systems would not be functioning for some time.
Mr Mote and Ms Andreasen also say there have been cover-ups within the EU hierarchy and money laundering by EU officials through a New York office.
They were backed in their concerns by leading barrister Leolin Price QC and it was suggested that if no criminal action was taken there was still the possibility of a civil case against the British government.
Mr Mote said: “This is a catastrophe for British taxpayers. It is a scandal that successive British governments have turned a blind eye to this disgraceful and unacceptable state of affairs for so long.”
He said the British government’s funding of the EU to the tune of £12bn (€17.4bn) a year must stop “at once”.
A spokesman for the Serious Fraud Office said: “We have received documents which we are now examining. It is a preliminary stage to determine whether or not an SFO investigation should proceed.”
Ms Andreasen was brought in by Neil Kinnock when he was vice-president of the EC as part of his job of shaking up the EU administration and tightening up accounting procedures to counter allegations of corruption and mismanagement.
But he suspended her from her job in May 2002 when she refused to sign off the EU accounts and made known her concerns to the public, and she has now been sacked for breach of trust and disloyalty.
But at today’s press conference following the handing over of papers to the SFO she said she had acted in the interests of the public.
She said: “You have people who believe that loyalty is acting according to the individual interest of your hierarchy.
“I don’t think the people on the street can judge me as breaching any trust. I have acted really in the interests of the public.”
She added: “I do not withdraw the claims that I have made and I am not sorry for the actions that I have taken.
“Whatever they say I communicated my concerns about the accounting systems to the hierarchy at the right time. I proposed changes and instead of getting an answer I was removed from the job.”