Fresh allegations of fraud against MEP Morten Messerschmidt
The EU’s anti fraud office has been called in to investigate fresh allegations against controversial Danish MEP Morten Messerschmidt.
These surround claims that the centre right deputy channelled an estimated €26,000 in EU funds on “summer camps” run by the far-right Danish People’s Party (DF) in 2014 and 2015.
It is believed that the money should have been spent on events run by two pan-European parties: the Movement for a Europe of Liberties and Democracy (MELD) and the Foundation for a Europe of Liberties and Democracy (FELD).
Messerschmidt, who often criticises the EU on how it spends its resources and wants to cut the EU’s budget, resigned as leader of the DF delegation in Parliament following separate fraud allegations earlier this year but continued as chief whip in the ECR group.
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The latest allegations against Messerschmidt were reported in the Danish media on Wednesday.
A spokesperson for the ECR group told this website on Thursday that Messerschmidt remains a member of the group.
The spokesperson said, "We have read the allegations made in the media and we are now seeking to establish the facts.
“The leader of our Danish delegation, Anders Vistisen, has sought an urgent meeting with the European Parliament's administration to clarify the situation, and he has made it clear that any monies that the Parliament deems to have paid in error will be repaid.”
He went on, “This matter primarily involves the Danish People's Party and MELD, not the ECR group, and until the investigations are concluded we do not intend to pre-judge them, but we will do all we can to cooperate and assist with them."
A source at Olaf, the Brussels-based anti-fraud agency which investigates misuse of EU funds, said it too was investigating the alleged abuse of EU funds paid by the Parliament to MELD and FELD.
It is the second time Messerschmidt has been accused of allegedly mismanaging EU funds. In May, he was said to have misused EU funding through two organisations he used to chair and was asked to pay back €400,000 worth of money.
Messerschmidt, who is well known in Denmark for campaigning against alleged EU fraud, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and told the Danish media that the demand for a refund was politically motivated.
The eurosceptic MEP received 465,758 votes in the 2014 European elections, a record high, and was previously tipped to enter national politics before the various fraud scandals hit.
Both he and his spokesperson were unavailable for comment on Thursday.
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