Mai jos, inregistrarea facuta de jurnalistii de la The Sunday Times cu spaniolul Bidegain. Acesta se arata si el dispus sa schimbe legi in schimbul primirii de bani (modificarea legislativa chiar a fost facuta):
Tot The Sunday Times publica rezultatele unui sondaj efectuat in Marea Britanie dupa scandalul Eurospagii de la Bruxelles. 89% din respondenti considera ca cei 3 europarlamentari implicati (printre care si Severin) trebuie anchetati si condamnati penal.
Mai jos articolul din The Sunday Times:
Insight: Fourth MEP taped in ‘cash-for-laws’ scandal
A Euro MP has been recorded agreeing to alter consumer law, designed to protect consumers in Britain and Europe, for a fake lobbying firm
Insight further reading:
‘I must be careful: there is a smell to lobbying’
Euro MPs exposed in 'cash-for-laws' scandal
A Spanish member of the European parliament has been secretly recorded agreeing to change laws intended to protect consumers in Britain and Europe.
Pablo Zalba Bidegain is the fourth MEP to be named in the “cash-for-laws” scandal that has been front-page news across Europe following the disclosures in The Sunday Times last week.
Last month Zalba tabled an amendment using the exact words written for him by our undercover journalists who were posing as lobbyists. The reporters had made clear that he would be paid for the work.
His amendment now appears in the parliament’s official documents and may, indeed, become law as Zalba also has a role as an official responsible for the legislation he was attempting to alter.
Three MEPs are now being investigated by prosecutors in their home countries after they agreed to accept the offer of payment in return for amending laws.
Their offices in the parliament have been sealed to prevent anyone trying to destroy the evidence.
Ernst Strasser, an Austrian former interior minister, and Zoran Thaler, a Slovenian former foreign minister, resigned from the parliament within 48 hours of our disclosures.
The third MEP, Adrian Severin, a former Romanian deputy prime minister, was thrown out of the Socialist group and his party last week. He has refused to resign, despite being booed in parliament on Wednesday. Jerzy Buzek, the parliament’s president, reacted to the disclosures by calling for the parliament’s “internal code” to be strengthened and for tougher sanctions to be introduced to punish errant members. Diana Wallis, a Liberal Democrat who is vice-president, said there should be a “proper criminal investigation” into the three MEPs.
Zalba, a 36-year-old from Pamplona with a business background, was one of 14 MEPs who held meetings with our undercover reporters over the winter months.
He holds an important role in the European People’s party, the second largest group in the parliament, as the shadow rapporteur responsible for the Investor Compensation Schemes (ICS) directive — a proposed new law protecting investors who lose money.
The first meeting with Zalba was held in his cramped Strasbourg office on January 19. The reporters explained that they were from a London-based lobbying company that wanted to hire a “partner within the parliament” for their advisory board who could help “influence” legislation.
Handsome and impeccably dressed, Zalba said that in general it was “easy” for an MEP to amend legislation.
Zalba: I can amend any single report which the European parliament prepares . . .
Reporter: Do you just submit the amendment?
Zalba: ... I mean here there are many contacts of many lobbyists and many of them want us to amend a report.
Reporter: Yes, I bet.
Zalba: And it’s up to you whether to copy/paste ... I try to study carefully not only the report but also the amendments and I try not to sign any amendment I had not studied carefully.
The MEP’s subsequent comments indicated that there would be no problem putting down amendments for the fake lobbyists’ clients.
Reporter: There’s a couple of things that I’m aware are coming up that are going to affect our clients, that it would be really useful to put an amendment down so, if, and that’s something you could probably help us with?
Zalba: No, no, definitely, definitely.
The reporters suggested that board members would typically be paid €100,000 (£87,800) a year. Zalba had two weeks to think over the proposal before the next meeting in Brussels. The MEP started by explaining that he would “definitely” join the advisory board if his party did not require him to stand in a Spanish regional election. He would know in a couple of weeks’ time.
The reporters then told Zalba their client had some work which could be paid for by backdating his contract or as a consultancy fee if he did not take up the €100,000-a-year role. The work was to make amendments to the ICS directive on behalf of the client. Would he be able to table amendments for them?
“Yeah, yeah, if there is no problem that goes against the criteria of my group, of course, of course,” he said.
On returning to London, the reporters emailed Zalba asking for changes to a part of the ICS directive that compelled investment firms to advertise the scheme on their websites. The reporters wanted to strike out the whole section, or amend it so that firms could avoid advertising it.
Zalba chose to do the latter. However, he initially emailed back a version of the amendment which would have had the opposite effect to the amendment sought by the reporters. “Please let me know asap if this fits your customer,” he wrote.
The reporters told him their client wanted it to be submitted as it was originally written or with a minimal change. On February 9 Zalba replied: “We are going to amend as follows. Is it OK for you?”
This time the amendment from Zalba was exactly as the reporters had originally requested. He tabled it himself. “Anyway, so we did your amendment,” he said when he met the reporters in the members’ bar later. He repeated that he “definitely” wanted to collaborate with the lobbying company. However, he wanted to delay his decision on payment until he knew if he was free to take the job.
This was the position until he was confronted by this newspaper earlier this month. In an initial call from our reporter, he said he had turned down payment for the work, although the recordings of the meetings do not bear this out. He claimed the wording of the amendment had been his own, even though it was written by the reporters.
Later his lawyers said he had never indicated he was willing to accept the job offer from the fake lobbying company and yet he was twice recorded saying he “definitely” wanted to work for the company. His lawyers said he had put down the amendment because it was a good idea that improved the draft legislation and he had not been motivated by money when doing so. They said he had consulted colleagues in the parliament who had recommended the amendment. They also pointed out that he did not respond when the reporters asked him what his day rate was for the work.
The Sunday Times investigation, entitled Lobbygate by Brussels commentators, was reported by most leading European media outlets and has prompted a fierce debate about lobbying’s role in the making of European legislation.
Last week The Sunday Times revealed that three MEPs had agreed to accept secret payments to alter laws.
Ernst Strasser, the Austrian MEP, was forced to resign within hours. He is now being investigated by the Korruptions Staats- antwaltschaft, Austria’s anti-corruption body.
Zoran Thaler, the Slovenian MEP, resigned on Monday after a meeting with his home country’s Corruption Prevention Commission, which is now investigating him.
Adrian Severin, the Romanian MEP, was expelled from his group but has defied calls from the parliament’s president to resign. He is being investigated by Romania’s National Anti-corruption Directorate.
Insight: Jonathan Calvert, Claire Newell and Bojan Pancevski