No OLAF investigation on Casa’s aide’s allegation of MEP’s irregular expenses

OLAF conducts preliminary analysis of allegations but said it will not open an investigation due to insufficient evidence of fraud

Nationalist MEP David Casa strikes a triumphal note
Nationalist MEP David Casa strikes a triumphal note

The EU’s anti-fraud agency OLAF has declared it will not open an investigation into allegations made by a former aide to Nationalist MEP David Casa, of EP funds being accounted for irregularly.

OLAF said it had conducted a preliminary analysis of the available information, but said it will not open an investigation “as there was not sufficient evidence of fraud or irregularities to justify the opening of an investigation,” it told Lovin Malta.

“However, should OLAF become aware of new information of potential investigative interest, these new aspects can be analysed by the office anytime.”

The former longstanding aide to Casa was paid in excess of €100,000 annually, but never pocketed the full amount of a deliberately inflated salary, because money was retained by the paying agent working for Casa’s office to make full ‘use’ of the European Parliament’s salary budget allowance.

Taxation records seen by MaltaToday show that Casa paid his former aide a total of €101,513 in 2009, a record salary that would have meant the aide was paid more than even MEPs themselves that same year – when salaries were tagged at €92,000 under new statute rules.

But while the paying agent responsible for disbursing the EP’s salary budget for Casa submitted a taxable income for €101,513 in 2009, the aide claims he was never actually paid that full amount.

Instead, the aide declared that his actual salary in 2009 was overstated by some €35,000 to €40,000, suggesting that the money was retained by the paying agent handling Casa’s staff salaries.

The aide, who had first accused Casa of having a cocaine problem, reported the allegations to the OLAF.

The MEP David Casa issued a triumphant statement at news that OLAF had not found enough evidence for a preliminary investigation.

“Whilst I have always said that the allegations were complete false, today’s declaration by OLAF proves that the allegations against me were being made for one reason: to try and tarnish my reputation in attempt prevent me from being effective in the European Parliament to hinder my work to combat corruption and money laundering,” Casa said.

“It is my job is to defend the Maltese people and no amount of mudslinging will stop me from continuing this work. These people will do everything to continue to operate to the detriment of the people of Malta and Gozo. But no threat, lie or allegation will stop me from doing my job.”

Casa’s former aide said that in 2009, their salary was grossly inflated, “but I was never paid that declared amount in my Malta bank account by the paying agent. So that large salary did not come my way.”

The aide also admitted having personally made up the figures declared in Casa’s transparency declaration citing the way he spent his €50,000 general expenses allowance. “In order to ensure we claim the full EP budget for general expenses, the figures were made up for costs for office management, office equipment, communications, conferences and events, and stationery, so that we could claim the full budget. There are no receipts to back up the full amount.”

Casa’s former aide insisted with MaltaToday that this lack of transparency allowed him to make up fictional amounts so that the expenses budget could be justified in full. “Most MEPs claim the maximum office allowance… There is no requirement to provide invoices, receipts or any details on how the funds are spent.”

When MaltaToday asked David Casa to comment on his “fictitious expenses” which were also audited by a CPA for his transparency declaration, the MEP denied the allegation.

“I categorically deny any fictitious rounding up of expenses with regard to the General Expenditure Allowance (GEA). The PN MEP delegation voluntarily, in the interest of transparency, audits our use of public funds, not just the GEA, despite being under no obligation to do so.”

Casa was also asked about staff members who were not paid their tax-declared incomes in full, so as to retain a portion of the EP budget for salaries for other purposes.

Casa insisted that all employee salaries were received in full “in the manner agreed with them, and in conformity with any applicable rules. Salaries are paid either by bank transfer or by cheque. I have no right, interest or ability to monitor what staff deposit in bank accounts.”

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