Claim for elephant only part of MEP's mammoth expenses


An Austrian member of the European Parliament is under investigation over suspect expenses claims totalling €1.3 million, including one item listed as “elephant”.

In a request to the European Parliament to waive Hans-Peter Martin’s immunity, the Vienna prosecutor’s office said it suspected the independent MEP of embezzling public funds and making money “illicitly for himself or a third party by fraudulent means”.

Mr Martin (55) says the allegations are an invention by adversaries upset by his efforts to expose the parliament’s waste of public funds.

“I see a direct link between the fact that I have made these things public and now false allegations being leaked to the press,” he said last week.

One claim for €2,200 was identified in accounts as being for an “elephant”.

Mr Martin says he in fact meant to claim for books about Auschwitz from an Austrian publisher called Ephelant. The publisher does offer such a book, priced at €22. Parliament’s legal affairs committee will meet this month to discuss Mr Martin’s immunity, a spokesman said.

– (Reuters)