Whistleblower ‘ousted over EU fraud expose’: Briton accuses officials of ‘Kafkaesque’ behaviour after he exposed financial wrongdoing
- Robert McCoy, 70, pushed out of post after over three decades as an EU official
- The Liverpool-born economist said he uncovered ‘fraudulent expenses’ claims
- Mr McCoy said he was bullied and forced out of job on health grounds in 2007
- He wants a public apology and to be officially recognised as a whistleblower
A British whistleblower yesterday accused Eurocrats of ‘Kafkaesque’ behaviour after he exposed EU financial fraud.
Robert McCoy, 70, was pushed out of his £100,000-a-year post as the top auditor of the Committee of the Regions in 2007 after more than three decades as an EU official.
The Liverpool-born economist found serious financial irregularities after he took the job in 2000 to oversee a £35million-a-year budget for the advisory body, which is seen as a ‘talking shop’ for local and regional politicians.
Robert McCoy (pictured), 70, was pushed out of his £100,000-a-year post as the top auditor of the Committee of the Regions in 2007 after more than three decades as an EU official
He told a hearing in Brussels he uncovered ‘fraudulent expenses’ claims for business class travel and subsistence allowances of £230 a day as well as ‘fake offers in public procurement procedures’.
But this was ignored by management who urged him to stop asking ‘inappropriate questions.’ He eventually reported the fraud to the European Parliament in March 2003.
He told the hearing: ‘My cry for help provoked a vindication campaign of taxpayer-funded abusive behaviour and institutional persecution. And I ended up losing my job.’
His allegations were confirmed by EU anti-fraud investigators in a 2003 report but they were not investigated.
Mr McCoy said the CoR, which has an annual budget of £85million, organised an ‘illegal’ and ‘bogus’ internal inquiry in January 2004 against him.
‘It is Kafkaesque,’ he told the hearing. ‘[The committee] has sat as judge and jury in its mismanagement of my case.’ Several colleagues vilified Mr McCoy for clamping down on financial mismanagement.
The Liverpool-born economist eventually reported the fraud to the European Parliament (building in Strasbourg, pictured) in March 2003 (file photo)
The threats became so frequent that doctors eventually signed him off on medical leave in April 2004 after he had a breakdown.
Officials sacked his staff and raided his office, seizing documents linked to the allegations. Mr McCoy said he was bullied and forced out of his job on health grounds in 2007.
The EU civil service tribunal has three times ruled in his favour – but this has been ignored by the CoR. Mr McCoy wants a public apology and to be officially recognised as a whistleblower. His legal action continues.
Anders Knape, a Swedish local councillor who sits on the CoR, told MEPs the body had ‘respected every legal method’ in dealing with the case. The CoR did not respond to requests for comment.
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