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Europe

EU To Investigate Money for Terrorists Claims

The EU's anti-fraud office is to send a team of investigators to Jerusalem to look into reports that EU money is funding Palestinian terrorist organisations, according to German newspaper Die Welt.

Their investigations follow months of allegations and counter-allegations that money meant for the Palestinian Authority finds its way into terrorist channels. If the team confirms the allegation then there will be "serious and personal consequences," said French Socialist MEP François Zimeray. The German conservative MEP Markus Ferber said it was "very likely" that it would result in the resignation of External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten - who oversees the whereabouts of the money. However, these claims about EU money funding terrorists have still to be backed up by hard evidence. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) published a report last year saying that until 2000, a total of 900 million euro that was supposed to paid to the Palestinian Authority flowed into the hands of terrorists. Estimates say that around two thirds of the money, according to Die Welt, came from various EU funds, the rest came from EU member states and aid organizations. Mr Patten has always said that the IMF checked where the money went and how it was spent. However, IMF officials have claimed that the organization only checked that the money went to the right accounts at the right time. They had no control over how the money was spent, they said. An ad-hoc Committee set up in the European Parliament to investigate the whole issue is waiting for the team to report back before publishing its report. The EU is the biggest international donor to the Palestinian Authority. (EUobserver.com)

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