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EU Parliament Blocks Inquiry into Cash-for-Amendments Case

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TEHRAN, March 28 (ICANA) – The European Parliament and the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) are at loggerheads over a corruption case involving three delegates, with the fraud office saying Monday that it has been blocked from collecting evidence in the parliamentarians' offices.
Monday, March 28, 2011 10:48:34 PM
EU Parliament Blocks Inquiry into Cash-for-Amendments Case

The parliament's president informed the anti-fraud agency on Thursday 'that it would not agree to an investigation on its premises,' OLAF said in a statement. It had previously been told that the parliament's security personnel would secure the offices, DPA reported.

Parliament lawyers are arguing that national authorities in the countries of the accused delegates - former Romanian deputy premier Adrian Severin, former Austrian interior minister Ernst Strasser and former Slovenian foreign minister Zoran Thaler - have jurisdiction over the case, a spokeswoman said.

OLAF, however, points to a European Union treaty that tasks it with 'fighting fraud, corruption and any other illegal activity affecting the financial interests of the community.'

Britain's Sunday Times had reported a week ago that Severin, Strasser and Thaler had accepted 100,000 euros (140,000 dollars) a year from reporters posing as lobbyists to present amendments to draft EU banking regulations.

Strasser and Thaler have resigned, while Severin has left the centre-left Socialist and Democrats group, but has retained his seat as a non-aligned EU deputy.

All three have denied any wrongdoing.

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