European Commission officials were being interrogated by Belgian police on Tuesday afternoon (27 March) following surprise raids by police on commission buildings.EU Referendum is tracking this. And it all seems to be a tad juicier then the above bland EU Observer reporting implies:
The civil servants are suspected of pocketing bribes from real estate and security companies in return for rewarding them contracts to rent and secure the commission buildings.
More than 150 police were involved in Tuesday's cross-border police operation, which started in the early morning and which saw searches in the commission's main Berlaymont building in Brussels, as well as in the representations in Luxembourg, France and Italy.
In total, more than 30 raids were carried out, including of "people at home," firms and banks, according to a Brussels prosecutor's office statement, with police taking several documents for investigation.
The office of a European Parliament assistant was also searched, with parliament officials however declining to comment on the reason for the apparent involvement of the assistant.
"The investigation involves suspected bribery of European civil servants, forming a criminal organization, violating professional secrecy, breaches of public tenders laws and forgery," the Brussels Prosecutors office said in a statement.More to follow, undoubtedly
A French police spokesman has told Bloomberg News that the case involved two Italian members of the European Parliament and an alleged connection to organized crime.