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EU Ombudsman opens investigation into Adam Farkas' move to AFME

© European Union 2019 - Source : EP / Benoit BOURGEOIS
Workshop for the members of the Committee on Petitions - Conflicts of interest

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Emily O’Reilly, the European Union’s Ombudsman said on Monday she has opened an investigation into the European Banking Authority’s (EBA) decision to allow its Director, Adam Farkas, to become head of a top lobby for the financial industry.
The EU Ombudsman has asked EBA to respond to 12 questions concerning its decision to approve Farkas’ move, until February 28.
EBA, EU’s banking regulator said in September that its chief was resigning to take duties as CEO of the Association of Financial Markets in Europe (AFME), on 1 February. The move was approved after several conditions were put in place, including an 18-month ban on Farkas advising AFME and its members on topics directly linked to his work during his three years at EBA, according to Reuters.
The inquiry is based on a complaint filed by the organisation Change Finance and supports that Farkas’ move could create a “conflict of interest” as the former EBA director could have an insight into EBA’s decision-making process.
“As to the Ombudsman’s decision to open an investigation into Adam Farkas’ move to AFME, of course we acknowledge this decision and remain committed to cooperating with them and replying to their inquiry,” EBA said on Tuesday.
EU lawmakers dispraised the move, calling it another example of “revolving door” for EU officials being employed in the private sector easily.
During last week’s Strasbourg’s plenary session, several MEPs stressed the importance of transparency in the EU to win back citizens’ trust to EU institutions and called for safeguards to ensure civil servants work 100% in the public interest and not for big corporations.
The MEPs also adopted a resolution asking the EU Commission to “assess current practices in the area of post-public employment at EU and national level” and to establish a harmonised legal framework for the “prevention of post-public employment conflict of interest situations.
They also called on the EBA’s Board of Supervisors to reconsider the decision on Farkas’ move and suggested that EU institutions’ members and representatives refrain from contacting Farkas for a two-year period.
 

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