The European Parliament must investigate Nigel Farage for not declaring generous expenses financed by Arron Banks.
The president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, "today refers the Farage issue to an advisory committee," a source told the Guardian.
The advisory committee is a group of five deputies who act as guard dogs on the Parliament's code of conduct. Establishes that all members must declare expensive gifts and report if third parties finance participation in the events.
Last week, Channel 4 revealed that Farage was generously funded by Arron Banks in the Brexit referendum year. Invoices, e-mails and documents showed that Farage benefited from a Chelsea home for £ 13,000 a month, a car with driver and promotional visits to the United States in 2016.
After the documentary, the liberal-democratic MEP Catherine Bearder called on parliamentary authorities to conduct an urgent investigation into Farage's "apparent violations" of the rules. The Southeast MEP of the United Kingdom is one of the five "questors" of the Parliament, which means that it controls the financing and administration.
"There seems to be a lot of ongoing expenses, money from third parties that is not shown in the public register," he said.
According to the parliament's code of conduct, deputies are required to declare whether they receive travel, accommodation or accommodation expenses from external sources to participate in events. The declaration should reveal the name and address of the lender, details on the charges and the type of event.
Farage, who receives a salary of 120,000 euros a year, has earned up to 700,000 euros from media appearances in 2014-18, ranking sixth on a "rich list" of MEPs outside of earnings. The exact sum of his extra earnings is not known because MEPs must declare other earnings only in large groups.
The advisory committee will not meet before June 4, after this week's European elections. Appoint one of its members to conduct the examination and write a report with a recommendation for a possible sanction. Any punishment, which could range from a reproach to retention charges, will be decided by the President of the European Parliament.
The leader of the Brexit party, a MEP for 20 years, was last year half his retribution to the European Parliament after the parliamentary administrators concluded that he was wrong to pay EU funds to his office staff . A political group dominated by Ukip – Farage's former party – was asked to repay € 173,000, after an official report said that EU funds had been spent on national campaigns.
Farage spokesmen in the Brexit party and his group in the European Parliament were contacted for comment. Its spokesmen described previous parliamentary investigations as "politically motivated attacks" and "a vengeful campaign" against Eurosceptic deputies.
The European Parliament has shown an indulgent attitude towards parliamentarians who have violated its code of conduct in the past. According to Transparency International, 24 European deputies have broken the ethical rules between 2014 and 2018. But only one reproach was issued and no one was sanctioned.
The crimes involved six MEPs who did not declare luxury travel financed by the autocratic Azerbaijan government. Another deputy was censored for submitting 200 amendments to the EU data protection rules that had been copied word for word by lobbyists.
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