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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 February 2008, 18:00 GMT
MEPs keep 'fraud' report secret
European Parliament building in Strasbourg
The audit investigated the 100m spent annually on staff allowances
Euro MPs have decided not to publish a confidential audit allegedly revealing a series of abuses of staff allowances.

The report mentions no names but British MEP Chris Davies, who leaked details, described it as "dynamite".

Another UK MEP, Eluned Morgan, said the European Parliament's Budget Control Committee had been told it did not have the authority to reveal the report.

Ms Morgan told the BBC that she was asking Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering to publish the document.

I think this is foolhardy and stupid because all it does is fuel the fires of suspicion
Chris Davies
Liberal Democrat MEP

She said Mr Poettering had the authority to make the report public.

Ms Morgan added that she wanted him to ensure "we can look at the conclusions, pore through it and make sure that we can put systems in place to correct the problems".

The question of expenses was raised at a meeting between the parliament's president and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown at Downing Street on Wednesday.

A Downing Street spokesman said Hans-Gert Poettering "agreed on the scale on the problem, and set out his proposals to tackle it. The prime minister called for an expeditious response."

'Embezzlement and fraud'

The EU's anti-fraud office, Olaf, has already said it will look at the report after Mr Davies claimed that what he had seen amounted to "embezzlement and fraud on a massive scale" in the 100m a year allocated to staff costs.

Mr Davies said he believed the parliamentary authorities would do everything they could to prevent the report being published.

"I think this is foolhardy and stupid because all it does is fuel the fires of suspicion. It increases the sense amongst people across Europe that the European Parliament has something to hide," he said.

The report selected a random 167 MEPs for checks and is said to give details of one MEP who took the full allowance but employed no-one, and another who had just one member of staff.

One Euro MP is said to have paid a member of staff a "Christmas bonus" worth 19 times the official's monthly salary.

Mr Davies has called for the allegations to lead to the imprisonment of a number of MEPs.

Ms Morgan agreed that those people who were not complying with the rules should be prosecuted.


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