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EU Transport Commissioner under fire for embezzlement conviction

[JURIST] As the European Commission begins its work Monday, new objections are being raised as to the suitability of the France's commissioner. Some European Parliament members are calling for the suspension of Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot for failing to disclose a previous conviction for embezzlement during his confirmation hearings. Barrot initially received a suspended prison sentence for embezzlement offenses but was given amnesty by French President Jacques Chirac in 2002. MEP Graham Watson, who leads the Liberal Democrats, has called on "Barrot to resign, or at the very least to ask to be relieved of his duties until this matter can be discussed and resolved." Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has said that Barrot must give a full account to the European Parliament of his fast activities. In a letter to the European Parliament, Barrot wrote that he was "the object of a judicial procedure opened in 1995 and closed on February 23, 2000 concerning all leaders of the Centre of Social Democrats [CDS]" and that he had nothing to cover up and I absolutely did not look to cover up anything from the European Parliament, which I profoundly respect." The European Parliament provides a summary [PDF] of Barrot's September confirmation hearing as well as recorded audio of the hearing. BBC News has more. Reuters has additional background on Barrot's letter to Parliament.

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