European prosecutors take over Belgian probe into Pfizergate – POLITICO


Transparency campaigners and some political opponents have sought to put pressure on the Commission to discuss the case, but von der Leyen has so far avoided addressing it. In a reply to a direct question put to her by POLITICO about missing text messages, von der Leyen said: “Everything necessary about that has been said and exchanged. And we will wait for the results.” 

In 2022, EPPO announced it was looking into the EU’s vaccine procurement more generally, but this is the first time that the office has been linked with Pfizergate explicitly.

Trading legal barbs 

The case now being looked at by EPPO brings together several different legal, political and financial strands — and it intersects with lawsuits that pharmaceutical giant Pfizer brought against Hungary and Poland. 

The sheer amount of vaccines purchased since the vaccine deal has since raised eyebrows, with POLITICO revealing late last year that there were at least €4 billion worth of wasted doses. | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Last year, Baldan, a 36-old Belgian lobbyist with ties to vaccine-skeptic group Bon Sens, lodged a criminal complaint in Belgium in connection to von der Leyen’s role in the vaccine negotiations with Pfizer over what he alleges were acts of “interference in public functions, destruction of SMS, corruption and conflict of interest,” according to legal information provided by his lawyer. 

The addition of European governments to his complaint adds weight to what might otherwise have been seen as a personal crusade. Hungary, led by Viktor Orbán, a steadfast opponent of von der Leyen, also filed a complaint in connection to the Commission president’s role in vaccine negotiations with Pfizer, according to two insiders with knowledge of the case, speaking on condition of anonymity because of its sensitivity. 

Poland lodged its own complaint last November, a Polish government spokesperson confirmed. However, following the election of Tusk in December, “the new government is working [to] withdraw Poland from these proceedings,” the spokesperson said. 

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