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EU anti-fraud enforcers probe Belgium’s top far-right MEP

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BRUSSELS — Belgian MEP Tom Vandendriessche, the top candidate on the EU election list of the far-right Vlaams Belang party, is under investigation by the bloc’s OLAF anti-fraud office.

A letter from two months ago, seen by the Belgian weekly Humo and left-leaning investigative outlet Apache, referred to the existence of a case and a case number. The reports allege the investigation was opened last year following a complaint. 

Vandendriessche confirmed to POLITICO he had received a letter from OLAF about a year ago stating it was looking into a notification by an employee, who Vandendriessche says was fired. 

The MEP denied receiving any further letters from OLAF, and dismissed the case as a “smear campaign” ahead of the June 6-9 European election, in which the far right is expected to make strong gains across the continent.  

The anti-fraud watchdog told POLITICO it was “not in a position to provide details regarding cases which OLAF may or may not be treating.”

Vandendriessche is virtually certain to return to the European Parliament as the head of Vlaams Belang’s list of candidates after this weekend’s election, as his party tops the polls at around 27 percent, according to POLITICO’s Poll of Polls.

The fact that Vandendriessche’s name appeared in an investigation related to fraud trains an unwanted spotlight on him just days before the election, even though OLAF only conducts administrative probes and has no power to impose its recommendations once it closes a case.

Earlier this week Vandendriessche won a court case against Meta, with a Belgian judge ordering the social media giant to pay him more than €27,000 in damages. The verdict concerned a “shadowban” from 2021 that reduced the reach of the lawmaker’s Facebook page.

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