The Daily Telegraph

Head of EU asylum agency denies claims of nepotism

- By Joe Barnes

THE head of the EU’S asylum agency was yesterday accused of misconduct as whistleblo­wers called for an investigat­ion into allegation­s of nepotism and the mishandlin­g of harassment claims.

Nina Gregori, the director of the Malta-based agency, was tasked with restoring its credibilit­y three years ago when her predecesso­r, Jose Carreira, left the role abruptly after he was accused of harassment.

He has denied any wrongdoing. The EU’S anti-fraud office confirmed the latest complaint about the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA), and said that it is exploring “potential investigat­ive interest according to standard procedure”. In the complaint, first reported by the Financial Times, unnamed whistleblo­wers alleged that Ms Gregori had failed to fulfil her brief.

“Gregori has now set up a complex system of legal structures and controls that give an appearance of compliance and regularity but that, in reality, hide and cover all [of the] agency’s irregulari­ties,” they wrote.

They further alleged that Ms Gregori had made it impossible to notify the “management board, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the public” of breaches of the rules. They also claim the agency, which employees about 2,000 people, hired staff linked to “corruption cases publicly reported across Maltese media”.

It was also said to have paid unjustifie­d salaries to people it hired, amounting to the “fraudulent use of EU budget channelled into irregular payments”.

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