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Belgium police arrest three EU officials on corruption charges

[JURIST] Belgian authorities on Wednesday arrested three Italian nationals - a European Commission [official website] official in charge of delegation infrastructure, a personal assistant to an Italian member of the European Parliament [official website], and a businessman - on corruption charges stemming from European public tenders to lease space and provide security for delegation buildings in Albania and India. A spokesperson for the Belgium Public Prosecutor's office said Wednesday that various EC and EP officials may have accepted up to $10 million in bribes over the last ten years. The three were arrested Tuesday through anti-corruption raids [JURIST report] coordinated with the governments of France, Italy, Luxembourg, and Belgium. AFP reports that the three were charged with corruption of an international civil servant, violation of professional secrecy, and criminal conspiracy. AFP has more. EUObserver.com has additional coverage.

The investigation was launched three years ago and involves OLAF [official website], the EU's independent anti-fraud office. In 1999, the entire EC resigned [BBC report; research paper] after a scandal surrounding the questionable hiring practices of former French prime minister Edith Cresson [BBC profile]. In 2006, Cresson was found guilty of favoritism and abuse of office [JURIST report].

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