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Blowing the Whistle: One Man's Fight Against Fraud in the European Commission

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Early in December 1998 Paul van Buitenen, an assistant auditor in the Financial Control Directorate of the European Commission in Brussels, lifted the lid on the internal corruption and fraud he had unearthed at the heart of the Commission. Despite extreme pressure ti keep quiet, he revealed to the European Parliament the true extent of EC corruption - with the result that Early in December 1998 Paul van Buitenen, an assistant auditor in the Financial Control Directorate of the European Commission in Brussels, lifted the lid on the internal corruption and fraud he had unearthed at the heart of the Commission. Despite extreme pressure ti keep quiet, he revealed to the European Parliament the true extent of EC corruption - with the result that in March 1999 the entire Commission resigned. Misappropriation of funds, corrupt dealings with contractors, jobs for the boys (or, in the case of Commissioner Edith Cresson, for the dentist) - Paul van Buitenen had opened a wriggling can of worms, and he paid a heavy price for following the dictates of his conscience: he was suspended from his post and villified by his former friends. Yet his decision to expose the murky goings-on in the Commission continues to reverberate around the corridors of power in Brussels - and in particular in the office of Neil Kinnock, the Commissioner charged with overseeing reform.


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Early in December 1998 Paul van Buitenen, an assistant auditor in the Financial Control Directorate of the European Commission in Brussels, lifted the lid on the internal corruption and fraud he had unearthed at the heart of the Commission. Despite extreme pressure ti keep quiet, he revealed to the European Parliament the true extent of EC corruption - with the result that Early in December 1998 Paul van Buitenen, an assistant auditor in the Financial Control Directorate of the European Commission in Brussels, lifted the lid on the internal corruption and fraud he had unearthed at the heart of the Commission. Despite extreme pressure ti keep quiet, he revealed to the European Parliament the true extent of EC corruption - with the result that in March 1999 the entire Commission resigned. Misappropriation of funds, corrupt dealings with contractors, jobs for the boys (or, in the case of Commissioner Edith Cresson, for the dentist) - Paul van Buitenen had opened a wriggling can of worms, and he paid a heavy price for following the dictates of his conscience: he was suspended from his post and villified by his former friends. Yet his decision to expose the murky goings-on in the Commission continues to reverberate around the corridors of power in Brussels - and in particular in the office of Neil Kinnock, the Commissioner charged with overseeing reform.

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