Farage's pay docked over misspent funds

Saturday, January 13, 2018

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BRUSSELS, Belgium (AFP) — Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage has lost nearly half of his annual European Parliament salary over allegations that he misspent funds — claims that his political group yesterday branded “vindictive” .

A parliamentary source confirmed a story in the Guardian newspaper that European Parliament chiefs are to dock 40,000 euros, or half of the former UK Independence Party chief's monthly wage as an MEP for a period of 10 months.

“There is a vindictive campaign by the European Parliament of selective persecution of eurosceptic MEPs, parties and groups,” a spokesman for the eurosceptic EFDD political group in the Parliament told AFP.

“This allegation is all part of their politically motivated assault.”

The allegations against Farage, who led Britain's vote to leave the EU and is close to US President Donald Trump, involve funds that were meant to pay for parliamentary staff who were instead doing national political work.

“Parliament pays salaries to assistants of lawmakers for work directly related to their European mandate,” a European Parliament spokeswoman said.

“In cases where the administration, after a long and detailed process, does not receive the necessary justifications for spending or European work carried out, and the member refuses to repay the money, we launch recovery proceedings.”

Despite quitting as leader of UKIP, Farage has kept a high profile and earlier this week met EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels.

He suggested this week that he was “reaching the point of thinking we should have a second referendum” to silence pro-Europeans opposed to the 2016 vote to leave the bloc, but later walked back the comments.

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