Nigel Farage’s MEP salary slashed to recoup ‘misspent’ funds

Nigel Farage’s salary has been docked by half following an investigation which accused him of misspending funds intended for his office in the European parliament.

According to the Guardian, the former Ukip leader will now lose 40,000 euro (£35,000) from his salary to recoup funds he spent on hiring parliamentary assistant Christopher Adams.

EU auditors said they did not believe that Mr Adams was working on issues related to Mr Farage’s work as an MEP.

Financial controllers have been investigating the role of Christopher Adams, who was hired by Farage to work in the European parliament as his assistant.

Auditors suspended Adams’ contract last year, because they were not convinced he was working for Farage on European parliamentary matters. Although paid as Farage’s assistant, Adams was also the national nominating officer for Ukip, where he was described as one of the party’s “key people”

“Since 1 January [2018] the European parliament has withheld 50% in order to recoup the €40,000 due in salary that was paid to Christopher Adams and which cannot be proved by Farage,” a parliamentary source told the Guardian.

Docking Farage’s pre-tax MEP salary of €8,484 a month would mean he would have repaid what officials call his “debt to the EU” by October 2018.

MEPs earn €101,808 a year before tax and receive thousands more in expenses for staff, travel and office costs. Farage’s pension is understood to be worth £73,000 a year and he will also be entitled to a transitional allowance worth £117,000 when he steps down as an MEP in 2019, as the UK leaves the EU.

A spokesman for Ukip’s bloc in the parliament, the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy group, said: “There is a vindictive campaign by the European parliament of selective persecution of Eurosceptic MEPs, parties and groups. This allegation is all part of their politically-motivated assault.”

Farage has the right to appeal at the European court of justice.

Under EU rules, full-time MEP assistants are not allowed to do paid work for a national political party. Part-time assistants need to have second jobs, paid and voluntary, vetted by European parliament authorities to prevent a conflict of interest.

Farage, who has been an MEP for 18 years, has one of the worst attendance records at the parliament in Brussels and Strasbourg. He is ranked 748 out of 751 MEPs and has taken part in only 37% of votes in the current parliamentary session, according to VoteWatch Europe.

The European parliament has played an unsung role in Ukip’s success, giving the party funding and a platform it struggled to get in British elections. European parliamentary authorities have in recent years paid closer attention to how MEPs spend EU funds, after years of assuming parties would do the right thing.

In 2016 a Ukip-dominated group was denied €501,000 in EU funds after it emerged European money had been funnelled into the attempts to win Farage a seat in the 2015 UK general election.

Farage told the journalist Michael Crick last September that he had not been paid his MEP salary for several months because of the dispute over Ukip spending, but the parliament source said that was not true.

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Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/01/12/nigel-farages-mep-salary-slashed-recoup-misspent-funds/
Source : https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/jan/12/nigel-farage-eu-salary-docked-claim-misspent-public-funds

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