EU Policy. Golden Dawn MEP's €100,000+ expense claims must be published, court says

Ioannis Lagos was sentenced by an Athens court in 2020
Ioannis Lagos was sentenced by an Athens court in 2020 Copyright AP Photo
Copyright AP Photo
By Jack Schickler
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Ioannis Lagos, a founder of the far-right party, continued to claim an MEP’s salary and costs even after he was sentenced to 13 years in jail.


The European Parliament must publish details of the expense claims made by jailed Golden Dawn MEP Ioannis Lagos, judges said today (8 May).

Lagos was sentenced by a Greek court to over 13 years in jail when his far-right party was deemed a criminal organisation in 2020, but continued to claim a salary and expenses from the European Parliament for months after.

The request for information is legitimate as it’s "intended to facilitate enhanced public scrutiny and accountability with regard to Mr Lagos’ access to public funds” in the exceptional circumstances of the case, the EU’s General Court said in a statement.

Activists welcomed that ruling, even if it came after a lengthy court battle.

“It’s really alarming that public money was being made available to a convicted criminal and yet we could have no information,” Luisa Izuzquiza of activist group FragDenStaat, which brought the case, told Euronews. “There is really no accountability with regard to these funds.”

“In the next term we really hope to see a change of culture and greater openness because MEPs are elected representatives,” she said, adding: “Accountability should be a given.”

Lagos had access to more than €100,000 in funds in the seven-month period between conviction and the Parliament agreeing to lift his immunity, Izuzquiza said.

That raised alarm bells as, according to a statement he made to the media, he was considering fleeing the EU to escape justice – and potentially using taxpayer-funded travel expenses to do so.

The ruling comes amid increasing scrutiny of the bloc’s cluster of far-right MEPs, ahead of elections due in June.

On Tuesday morning, police searched the offices of Maximilian Krah, after his assistant has been arrested for allegedly spying for China. Krah, lead candidate for Germany’s Alternative für Deutschland party, has denied any wrongdoing on his own part.

A report published by Transparency International shed light on the millions of euros MEPs make from earnings outside of their official salary and allowances – as they’re allowed to hold second jobs under current Parliament rules.

A spokesperson for the European Parliament's press service told Euronews it "takes note of this decision and will ensure its implementation". 

UPDATE (8 May, 12:27 CET): adds Parliament comment.

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