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Politics

European Parliament Still Paying Convicted Greek Neo-Nazi’s Salary

BRUSSELS – A convicted member of Greece’s neo-Nazi criminal gang hasn’t been booted from the European Parliament and is still being paid – how he spends it kept secret – a German civil advocacy group suing to force disclosure.

Yiannis Lagos got a 13-year sentence but there’s been no explanation why he’s still and MEP and being paid, the European Parliament refusing to provide any information, claiming the spending of public funds is a private matter.

“Despite his criminal conviction, Lagos is not only a member of the European Parliament to this day, but will continue to have access to the public funds to which all MEPs and their assistants are entitled. To date, more than 100,000 euros ($103,593) have been made available to him,” FragDenStaat, a part of the Open Knowledge Foundation, said in a statement on its website.

It reportedly filed a complaint with the European Court in Luxembourg over EU Parliament’s alleged failure to disclose how Lagos used public EU funds even after his conviction, said Kathimerini.

“It took the European Parliament more than seven months to lift Lagos’ parliamentary immunity which protected him from extradition. During this time, Lagos openly stated that he was making arrangements to seek asylum elsewhere in Europe – likely Norway – to avoid his conviction,” the group said.

“His access to and use of public funds raises important questions: What has Lagos used these funds for? Have public funds been used to keep criminal activity going? Or to avoid a criminal conviction?” it added.

“Only the European Parliament can answer these questions. However, Parliament refuses to release this information in order to protect Lagos’ ‘personal data’,” the non-profit organization said.

Lagos was extradited from Brussels where he held a seat in the European Parliament since 2019, enjoying diplomatic immunity while drawing a MEP salary despite his conviction.

He fled to Brussels within hours of the conviction, eluding extradition for nearly eight months, the European Parliament allowing a fugitive from justice to remain in its ranks and paid.

After the report he was going to flee and seek asylum in Norway, Belgian police wentinto action and European lawmakers voted to strip him of his immunity, by a vote of 658-24, with 10 abstentions.

When he got back to Greece, Lagos remained defiant, blaring nationalist rhetoric as armed and masked agents whisked him into a special police van, transferring him to a maximum security prison in Domokos, central Greece.

“For Orthodoxy and Greece, every sacrifice is worth it,” he shouted to reporters during his transfer, The Voice of America reported then.

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