Ex-Irish EU commissioner quits bank in ethics row: source

7th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

Former Irish European Union commissioner Charlie McCreevy has quit his post at a British investment bank under pressure over a failure to respect rules on ethics, sources said Thursday.

A standards committee at the EU's executive commission, which controls the largest share of the bloc's estimated 140-billion-euro annual budget and many of the economic levers over European society, gave a "negative opinion" on his new directorship, an EU source told AFP.

It had earlier allowed McCreevy to retain a similar role with Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair. McCreevy had managed the internal market during his time in Brussels at the heart of the world's biggest open trading bloc before moving on in February at the end of his mandate.

NBNK Investments said on its website that "Mr McCreevy has resigned from the board with immediate effect in order to comply fully with his obligations."

It is the first time that an ex-commissioner has been forced to give up lucrative private-sector employment because of a possible conflict of interest under an ethics system that came into force in 2003.

The system obliges departing commissioners to notify Brussels of all offers for 12 months after leaving office.

German media revealed last month that a host of top European political figures, including current Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini, were still on the EU's payroll under resettlement schemes.

© 2010 AFP

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