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Friday, November 19, 1999 Published at 21:28 GMT


World: Europe

EU fraud -- a billion-dollar bill


The European Commissioner responsible for reform, Neil Kinnock, has published what he calls a whistleblower's charter, offering guidelines to European Union staff who want to report suspicions of corruption.

It comes on the day of another European Commission report which said the European Union lost a billion dollars last year because of fraud and fiscal irregularities.

Cigarette-smuggling alone deprived member states of hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes.

One criminal syndicate diverted one-and-a-half million litres of alcohol from the EU to Eastern Europe, falsely declaring it to be tomato sauce. The report said that over five thousand suspected fraud cases had been investigated but only one European Commission official had been sacked -- for receiving payments in exchange for contracts.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service



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