Von der Leyen has a problem, it’s called Pfizergate

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In recent months, the EPPO took over the case, referred to in the media as Pfizergate, from Belgian prosecutors. They investigated von der Leyen for “interference with public functions, destruction of text messages, corruption and conflict of interest,” according to legal documents seen by Politico.

Liège authorities began an investigation early last year based on a criminal complaint filed by local lobbyist Frédéric Baldan. It was later joined by the Hungarian and Polish governments. However, Poland withdrew the criminal complaint after the pro-European government led by Prime Minister Donald Tusk came to power.

Baldan’s criminal complaint focused on an alleged exchange of text messages between von der Leyen and Bourla in the run-up to the European Union’s largest-ever agreement to buy vaccines against covid-19 during the height of the pandemic.

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Foreign

More than a year ago, the New York Times was the first to report on the SMS communication in May 2021 between the head of the Commission and the director of Pfizer. At the same time, he filed his own lawsuit against the EC after it refused to publish the contents of the reports based on a request for access to documents.

Vaccines for 505 billion

The ordered 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 has begun to deal with the investigation may mean a complication for the head of the EC in her efforts to obtain a second mandate at the head of the EU executive after the elections to the European Parliament.

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 tied to buying doses even as the pandemic receded, while efforts to donate surplus injections to third countries were thwarted by falling 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 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,” commented the head of the EC earlier on the Pfizergate case. The Hungarian government did not respond to a request for comment, and Pfizer and the EPPO declined to comment on the case, Politico added.

Von der Leyen wants a second mandate at the head of the European Commission

Europe

The article is in Czech

Tags: Von der Leyen problem called Pfizergate

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