Confusion surrounding the purchase of covid vaccines: The main European prosecutor intervened in the case


The EPPO, which has strong investigative powers, has previously revealed that he is investigating the purchase of vaccines, but he has never commented on whether he is also dealing with the boss European Commission. No one has yet been charged in connection with the case.

Questions surrounding how the contract with Pfizer was negotiated have dogged the head of the European Commission since more than a year ago The New York Times (NYT) reported that she exchanged messages with the head of the pharmaceutical firm during the preparation of the giant contract in May 2021. The vaccine was ordered by the EU for hundreds of millions from Pfizer, and the pair called and exchanged messages for about a month, according to the NYT, with that “personal diplomacy playing a big role in the deal.”

Complications for Leyen?

An investigation into the case was originally launched by Belgian authorities in Liège in early 2023 following a criminal complaint filed by local lobbyist Frédéric Baldan. It was later joined by the Hungarian and Polish governments, but Poland withdrew its complaint last year after the election of a pro-European government led by Donald Tusk.a Polish government spokesman said.

Baldan’s criminal complaint concerned precisely the alleged exchange of text messages between von der Leyen and Bourlou in the period before the conclusion of the vaccine contract; the affair was named Pfizergate. The vaccines were supposed to be worth over 20 billion euros (CZK 505.5 billion). According to the Brussels media, the fact that the main European prosecutor began to deal with the investigation may mean a complication for the head of the EC in her efforts to obtain a second mandate after the EP elections at the head of the Union executive.

Ursula von der Leyen | Professional media

Last December, the Politico server, referring to its own analysis, wrote that EU countries threw away at least 215 million doses of vaccines against the covid-19 disease, which cost taxpayers roughly four billion euros (over CZK 98 billion). Many of these vaccines were purchased at the height of the pandemic in 2021, just as the EU signed its largest single contract to buy 1.1 billion doses from Pfizer/BioNTech. In this context, the server noted that it is easy to forget how uncertain the situation was in 2021, when the vaccine deal was touted. According to him, however, its size and timing proved to be problematic. Countries were bound to buy benefits even as the pandemic receded, while efforts to donate surplus injections to third countries have been thwarted by both declining demand and logistical problems.

The EPPO conducts pan-European investigations into financial crimes and can theoretically seize phones and other relevant materials from the offices of the European Commission or even in other countries, such as von der Leyen’s native Germany, noted Politico. The commission has so far refused to confirm the existence of the text messages or reveal their content. “Everything that needs to be said has already been said. We will wait for the results,” the head of the EC commented on the Pfizergate case earlier. The Hungarian government did not respond to a request for comment, and Pfizer and the EPPO declined to comment on the case, Politico added.

Coronavirus: Vaccination with the Pfizer vaccine.

The article is in Czech

Tags: Confusion surrounding purchase covid vaccines main European prosecutor intervened case


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