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MEP investigated for fraud involving parliamentary allowances: EPPO seizes over €170 000

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The European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) in Milan (Italy) has executed a seizure of more than €170 000 against Ms Stefania Zambelli, Member of the European Parliament (MEP), and four of her assistants, as part of an investigation into possible fraud involving parliamentary allowances.

The investigation, led by the EPPO and carried out by the Brescia branch of the Italian Financial Police (Guardia di Finanza), concerns a suspicion of fraud detrimental to the EU budget, regarding the remuneration of four parliamentary assistants hired in Italy.

According to the evidence, the four members of staff did not carry out the activities related to the function for which they were hired, or only carried them out partially, falsely documenting their activities to the European Parliament.

In addition, they misrepresented their qualifications, having declared educational and professional skills that they did not have, according to the investigation.

It is believed that the MEP, who is closely related to at least one of the people hired, also benefited from the sums paid by the European Parliament for the work activities that the staff should have performed.

The estimated damages to the EU budget amount to €172 148.82.

The execution of the seizure order was completed last Thursday, 23 February, by the Italian Financial Police, and included bank accounts and luxury cars.

The judicial measures were issued based on the evidence gathered during the preliminary investigation. All persons concerned are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in the competent Italian courts of law.