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EU prosecutors take up Von der Leyen corruption probe – Politico — RT World News

Investigators are said to be looking into private text messages between the President of the European Commission and the CEO of Pfizer

The European Union's top prosecutors have taken over an ongoing corruption investigation into European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Politico reported Monday, citing a spokesman for the prosecutor's office in Liège in Belgium.

The investigation relates to the purchase of nearly two billion doses of Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine for the European Union at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Prosecutors allege that the European Commission president negotiated a multi-billion-euro deal with the pharmaceutical giant's CEO, Albert Bourla, privately via text messages before clinical trials of the vaccine were completed.

Von der Leyen refused to reveal the content of those messages, claiming that she could not find them.

Investigators from the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO), who have been working on the case over the past few months, reportedly believe von der Leyen may be guilty. “Interference in public functions, destruction of SMS messages, corruption and conflicts of interest.” According to legal documents reviewed by Politico.

Despite these allegations and von der Leyen's own admission that she communicated privately with Bourla for about a month before signing the deal worth around €20 billion ($21.5 billion), no formal charges have yet been brought against the European Commission president.

Politico sources said the case had the support of the governments of Poland and Hungary, which also filed formal complaints about von der Leyen's role in the vaccine negotiations. However, the newspaper noted that Warsaw moved to withdraw the complaint after Prime Minister Donald Tusk's pro-EU government came to power last year.

The New York Times, which first reported in 2021 that private conversations between von der Leyen and Bourla had already taken place before the vaccine deal was signed, also filed a lawsuit against the European Commission for refusing to disclose the content of the text messages. The request to access the documents was denied.

The case against the President of the European Commission has been gained 'Public interest is very high' According to EU officials, amid concerns that the bloc has purchased far more Covid doses than was necessary.

In December last year, Politico reported that EU countries had thrown away at least 215 million doses, costing taxpayers up to 4 billion euros ($4.3 billion). Despite this, vaccines will continue to flow to the European Union under the contract with Pfizer, at least until 2027.


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