Brussels ethics committee may look into Neelie Kroes’ conflict of interest


The European Commision is to ask its ethical research committee to look into a possible conflict of interest involving former commissioner Neelie Kroes, news agency ANP said on Thursday.

Commission chairman Jean Claude Juncker has ordered the probe, a spokesman is quoted as saying by the NRC.

Leaked papers last month show that during her period in office in Brussels, Kroes was a board member at Bahama-registered Mint Holdings. Kroes says she thought she had been written out in 2002 but this did not happen until 2009.

EU code of conflict rules require commissioners to register all their outside interests. Kroes reported some 60 positions but not the Mint Holdings one, the Guardian said at the time.

According to ANP, the commission has already asked Kroes for a verbal explanation and has now decided to bring in the ethics committee. The committee was set up to find out of former commissioners have stuck to the rules and can withdraw pensions as a sanction. It is currently looking in to Juncker’s predecessor José Barroso who has taken a job with Goldman Sachs.

Kroes, 75, was a commissioner from 2004 until 2014, first with the competition department and then in charge of the digital agenda. She is now works for US software company Salesforce, taxi firm Uber and Bank of America.

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