EU whistle-blower demands 'fraudulent' Cresson be punished

6th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

BRUSSELS, July 6 (AFP) - The whistle-blower whose allegations brought down the European Commission in 1999 Tuesday threatened new exposures unless the EU executive continues to pursue French former prime minister Edith Cresson.

BRUSSELS, July 6 (AFP) - The whistle-blower whose allegations brought down the European Commission in 1999 Tuesday threatened new exposures unless the EU executive continues to pursue French former prime minister Edith Cresson.

Paul van Buitenen, who is now a member of the European Parliament, said Cresson still had many questions to answer over her time as an EU commissioner despite escaping criminal charges in Belgium.

The Dutch MEP threatened that if the European Union executive drops its own investigation into Cresson, "I will expose everything, all the names".

"I will expose the complete chronology and the commission will be ripped apart, because of the way they have dealt with this file," he told reporters.

Van Buitenen was working in the commission's audit service in 1999 when he produced a dossier of corruption allegations against Cresson that eventually forced the entire EU executive led by Jacques Santer to resign.

Cresson has strenuously denied that research contracts she awarded to her personal dentist, Rene Bertholet, or the way in which her EU department awarded business to a French company constituted fraud.

Speaking after a Belgian court agreed to drop criminal charges against her at the end of last month, Cresson denounced van Buitenen's allegations as "gossip" that had been whipped up into "a climate of hysteria".

But the Dutch politician insisted that Cresson had signed off on "fraudulent missions" and "fraudulent contracts".

"We are not talking here about a few thousand euros, we are talking here about a lot more money," he said.

"Now we run the risk that Ms Cresson will not be pursued, not by the Belgian justice system and not by the European Commission," he added.

"What I cannot accept at all is if within the European Commission, Ms Cresson and the collaborators of Ms Cresson would get off the hook and on the contrary, lower-ranking officials would be sentenced under the disciplinary rules of the European Commission.

"In that case, I think this goes so far wrong that I will start exposing certain things."

The current commission led by Romano Prodi will decide over the summer whether to pursue disciplinary charges against Cresson.

It could ask the European Court of Justice to dock her substantial EU pension if it finds that Cresson was negligent in her handling of her education and research department.

 

© AFP

 

Subject: French news

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