Pubblicato in: Criminalità Organizzata

Il Parlamento Europeo apre una inchiesta per frodi su Martin Schulz. Dimissioni.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2017-02-14.

schulz-martin-023

«The Chair of the European Parliament’s powerful Budgetary Control Committee, Ingeborg Grässle, has vowed to open an official investigation into the accusations of fraud surrounding former EP President Martin Schulz.»

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«Ms Grässle, who chairs the EP committee charged with overseeing proper use of EU funds, accused Schulz of having created a “Stalinist system of cronyism” during his five years as President of the Parliament»

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«consideration of fraud and irregularities in the implementation of the budget of the Union, measures aimed at preventing and prosecuting such cases, the strict protection of the Union’s financial interests»

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«Schulz was shamelessly bending regulation according to his political ambition. I will see to it that these revelations are thoroughly investigated»

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«- Extensive use of a private jet, chartered at a cost of €20,000 an hour, to travel between Brussels, Strasbourg and Berlin.

– High-handed attitude towards staff: one junior aide to Schulz changed jobs after having been ordered on several occasions to iron the President’s trousers – not part of his job description.

– Shoehorning political allies into well-paid posts in the EP administration without going through proper recruitment procedures, and in many cases persons neither suited nor qualified for their jobs.

– Regularly entertaining staff and allies at the exclusive Au Crocodile Michelin-star restaurant in Strasbourg.»

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«His five years heading an EU institution clearly led to him getting further and further out of touch as he expanded his lavish lifestyle»

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«His accumulation of power led to him abusing it by infringing the EP financial and staff regulations to promote and enrich his closest collaborators»

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Mrs Ingeborg Grässle, Chair of the European Parliament’s Budgetary Control Committee ha compilato un atto di accusa molto severo nei confronti dell’ex-Presidente del parlamento Europeo, Herr Martin Schulz.

Ma oltre agli evidenti abusi di potere ed alle spese ingenti sostenute a beneficio suo e dei suoi cari, che poi sono davvero molti, l’accusa peggiore è quella di associazione per delinquere.

«accused Schulz of having created a “Stalinist system of cronyism” during his five years as President of the Parliament»

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Herr Martin Schulz aveva sempre sostenuto, assieme ai suoi compagni di partito socialdemocratici, che un politico indagato avrebbe dovuto dimettersi e ritirarsi a vita privata in attesa che la Magistratura fosse arrivata a sentenza.

Orbene: questo è il momento della verità.

Herr Martin Schulz si deve ritirare dalla competizione elettorale per la Cancelleria tedesca e tornare a via privata.


The Times. 2017-02-13. Merkel rival flies into cronyism row.

Martin Schulz is wooing German voters but faces an inquiry into lavish spending and his choice of aides when he was head of the European parliament.

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He is the left-wing German populist presenting Chancellor Angela Merkel with her most serious challenge at the polls in more than a decade as she runs for a fourth term in September’s election.

But Martin Schulz, 61, the newly appointed leader of the Social Democrats, is facing an official inquiry into his use of private jets, lavish spending in expensive restaurants and alleged promotion of close aides to plum posts during the five years he spent as president of the European parliament.

An investigation by The Sunday Times — in conjunction with the German news magazine, Der Spiegel — has cast a spotlight on the high-spending habits of Schulz, who left his parliamentary job last month to return to Germany to take on Merkel.

These include regular use of a private jet, chartered at a cost of €20,000 (£17,000) an hour, to travel between Brussels and other European cities such as Strasbourg and Berlin, which are well served by scheduled flights and high-speed trains.

Schulz also faces accusations that he shoehorned political allies into key posts; it was said some were not suited to their jobs or did not go through proper recruitment procedures. Others allegedly took extra payments to which they were not entitled.

The former parliament chief, who makes much of his humble origins, was also said to have been high-handed towards staff: one junior aide to Schulz changed jobs after having been ordered on several occasions to iron his boss’s trousers.

Last week, Ingeborg Grässle, chairwoman of the parliament’s budgetary control committee, accused Schulz of having created a “Stalinist system of cronyism” and said she would open an investigation into the allegations.

“Schulz was shamelessly bending regulation according to his political ambition. I will see to it that these revelations are thoroughly investigated,” said Grässle, who, as a member of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, is a political opponent.

Both Schulz and his party refused to comment on the claims, which were also published yesterday by Der Spiegel.

They come as last week’s polls in Germany showed Schulz’s popularity rating had surged to 50%, against just 37% for Merkel, who is facing a backlash over her “open-door policy”, which allowed in more than 1m migrants.

European parliament records show that Schulz, whose annual income was more than €340,000, regularly took private jets to and from party political events, such as party conferences, awards ceremonies and even panel discussions.

He had two chauffeurs at his disposal and used such aircraft almost daily in 2014 when he was engaged in a failed attempt to become president of the European Commission. On one trip alone he travelled from Florence to Berlin, via Malta, and Valencia in Spain.

Schulz was also fond of entertaining staff and allies, favouring Au Crocodile, a Michelin-star eatery in Strasbourg, seat of the European parliament, and Barbanera, an elegant Brussels restaurant that serves Italian wines costing €300 (£255) a bottle.

The Sunday Times has also been shown written complaints from officials in the European parliament about Schulz’s promotion of allies — many of them fellow Germans. In one such document concerns are raised that Schulz violated “staff regulation” in his efforts to promote members of his private office. Schulz’s decision to elevate his allies, the document states, was “forcing” recruiters to promote his staff to a “higher type of job”.

“The audacity with which Schulz put only half-competent party buddies in key positions is damaging for the taxpayer,” said Grässle. She added: “It’s nepotism pure and simple — he did everything that we criticise African leaders for.”

Particular attention has focused on one such associate of Schulz — Markus Engels, who this month left parliament to take up a post as the Social Democrats’ campaign manager.

Engels, 49, worked in Berlin at a European parliament branch office from 2012, but was officially listed as employed in Brussels. This meant his €5,200 monthly salary was boosted by a 16% expatriate allowance. It also allowed him to claim a further €16,000 a year for travel. The arrangement was mockingly described as a “permanent business trip” by parliament officials. Engels has declined to comment.

Schulz, who was born in the village of Hehlrath, near the Dutch and Belgian borders, has made a political virtue of his modest beginning and his achievements despite the lack of formal education.

He dropped out of secondary school to become a professional footballer, but after an injury ended his career he opened a bookstore and suffered from alcoholism, according to his own account, for several years. He began his career in local politics, becoming mayor of Würselen, a town of about 40,000 people in North Rhine-Westphalia, in 1987 at the age of 31.

Schulz then moved into European politics. In 1994 he was elected to the European parliament. In 2003 he became known to a wider public when he was embroiled in a row with Silvio Berlusconi, then the Italian prime minister, who said he would be “perfect” for the role of a Nazi concentration camp guard.

Schulz brooks few challenges to his authority. Viewing Brexit as a personal affront, he would be expected to take a tougher line with Britain if he became chancellor. Ulrich Speck, a political analyst, said Schulz viewed EU unity as far more important than good German-British relations.

The contrast between Schulz and the opera-loving Merkel, who holds a PhD in physical chemistry, has helped his surge in the polls.

But today’s revelations of largesse could antagonise German voters accustomed to Merkel’s modest lifestyle: she runs a VW Golf and does her own shopping.

Alarmed at Schulz’s rise, Merkel’s Christian Democrats have stepped up their attacks on his campaigning style. Last week Wolfgang Schäuble, the finance minister, accused him of trying to ride a wave of populism similar to that which propelled Donald Trump to the White House.

For now, polls show Schulz’s strategy of campaigning as the “common man” candidate is working. Last week, he said in a speech that he was “too lazy” at school and “not talented” for a football career yet had reached the pinnacle of politics.

“My money is on Schulz,” said Michiel van Hulten, a former Dutch MEP who worked with him. “He has the endless energy, and endless will for power.”


NOS. 2017-02-13. ‘SPD-leider Schulz smeet met geld en deed aan vriendjespolitiek’.

De Britse krant The Sunday Times schrijft dat Martin Schulz enorme geldbedragen heeft uitgegeven in zijn tijd als voorzitter van het Europees Parlement. Uit een onderzoek dat de krant samen met het Duitse blad Der Spiegel heeft gedaan, zou ook blijken dat de Duitse politicus zich schuldig heeft gemaakt aan vriendjespolitiek.

Schulz zou onder meer gebruik hebben gemaakt van een dure privéjet voor reizen tussen Brussel en andere Europese steden die voor een fractie van de prijs ook bereikbaar waren met de trein en reguliere vluchten. Ook zou hij werknemers en politieke bondgenoten regelmatig getrakteerd hebben op etentjes bij dure sterrenrestaurants.

De krant schrijft klachten ingezien te hebben van medewerkers van het Europees Parlement waarin Schulz wordt beschuldigd van vriendjespolitiek. Zo zou hij herhaaldelijk zijn persoonlijke medewerkers en bondgenoten hogere functies hebben gegeven, ook als dit volgens de regels eigenlijk niet mogelijk was.

Schulz werd deze maand gekozen tot lijsttrekker van de sociaal-democratische SPD. Afgaande op peilingen is de SPD sindsdien populairder geworden. Schulz zou een goede kans hebben om ten koste van Merkel bondskanselier te worden. Duitsland kiest in september een nieuw parlement.

Verkiezingscampagne

“Hij deed alles waar we Afrikaanse leiders om bekritiseren”, zou voorzitter Ingeborg Gräßle van het Comité voor Budgettaire Controle over hem hebben gezegd. Gräßle zit in het Europees Parlement namens de CDU, die het in de Duitse verkiezingscampagne opneemt tegen de SPD van Schulz.

Medewerker Markus Engels, die vanuit Berlijn met Schulz werkte, zou door hem op een lijst zijn gezet waarmee hij op papier in Brussel werkzaam was. Hierdoor kreeg Engels 16 procent extra op zijn maandelijkse salaris van 5200 euro. Ook had hij hierdoor recht op 16.000 euro reiskostenvergoeding.

Nadat Schulz was afgetreden als voorzitter van het Europees Parlement om leider van de SPD te worden, is Engels ook gestopt met zijn werkzaamheden in Brussel. Hij is nu campagneleider van de SPD.

Schulz, Engels en de SPD wilden niet reageren op het onderzoek van Der Spiegel en The Sunday Times.


Agenda Europe. 2017-02-13. EU Parliament anti-fraud chief to open investigation of Martin Schulz

he Chair of the European Parliament’s powerful Budgetary Control Committee, Ingeborg Grässle, has vowed to open an official investigation into the accusations of fraud surrounding former EP President Martin Schulz. The scandal which was revealed by German weekly Der Spiegel on Saturday, was compounded by further revelations by UK newspaper the Sunday Times today.

Ms Grässle, who chairs the EP committee charged with overseeing proper use of EU funds, accused Schulz of having created a “Stalinist system of cronyism” during his five years as President of the Parliament. She has on numerous occasions in the past raised questions about dubious appointments of Schulz’ political cronies to sensitive positions in the EP administration, including in the EP financial, personnel and legal departments. Her committee’s responsibilities include “consideration of fraud and irregularities in the implementation of the budget of the Union, measures aimed at preventing and prosecuting such cases, the strict protection of the Union’s financial interests.”

“Schulz was shamelessly bending regulation according to his political ambition. I will see to it that these revelations are thoroughly investigated,” said Grässle, a member of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union. So far Martin Schulz has refused to respond to the accusations and has let other members of his SPD party – which recently selected him as its candidate to face Merkel in the forthcoming German federal elections – make public statements, dismissing the revelations as CDU party politicking.

Among the accusations of abuse of power against Schulz made by the Sunday Times are:

– Extensive use of a private jet, chartered at a cost of €20,000 an hour, to travel between Brussels, Strasbourg and Berlin.

– High-handed attitude towards staff: one junior aide to Schulz changed jobs after having been ordered on several occasions to iron the President’s trousers – not part of his job description.

– Shoehorning political allies into well-paid posts in the EP administration without going through proper recruitment procedures, and in many cases persons neither suited nor qualified for their jobs.

– Regularly entertaining staff and allies at the exclusive Au Crocodile Michelin-star restaurant in Strasbourg.

All of this is very far from the carefully-cultivate man-of-the-people image that Schulz has cultivated and is now trying to present in the German election campaign. His five years heading an EU institution clearly led to him getting further and further out of touch as he expanded his lavish lifestyle. His accumulation of power led to him abusing it by infringing the EP financial and staff regulations to promote and enrich his closest collaborators.

It is to be hoped that the current EP leadership will not seek to cover up any of Schulz’ activities but will facilitate a thorough investigation into each and every one of the accusations.

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