EP Budget Control Committee Questions Vlahutin’s Villa

After reports surfaced yesterday evening that MEP Ingeborg Gräßle, the Chair of the Budget Control Committee of the European Parliament, had submitted written questions to High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini regarding the acquisition of the residence of EU Ambassador Romana Vlahutin, Exit reached out to her office to receive an official confirmation.

Today, MEP Gräßle sent a document to Exit which lists the questions posed to Mogherini, many of which follow up on the coverage that Exit has provided of the dubious acquisition.

Below the full list of questions:

Follow-up questions to the EEAS – allegations of corruption against a high EEAS official

The EEAS bought a residence in the area of Rolling Hills, Tirana Albania. It came to our knowledge that the price of the 345 square meter villa was EUR 1.65 million that would correspond to EUR 4780 per square meter.

  1. Can the Commission confirm the above-mentioned figures?
  2. If yes, what was the reason for that high price per square meter given that the average price for property in the same category and in the same area, the Rolling Hills, seems to range from EUR 1000 to EUR 2000 per square meter?
  3. What was the reason to buy that expensive property instead of renting it or another one?
  4. Was a public procurement procedure launched? How many offers had been received?
  5. Could you please inform us about the exact date when the negotiations about the new property started and the date when the purchase contract was signed?
  6. Who was in charge of the negotiations?
  7. Is there an OLAF investigation ongoing?
  8. Could you please list the staff turnover between the (inofficial) start of the negotiations and the signature of the purchase contract?
  9. Is the EEAS aware of any relatives, of members of the Albanian government, who are working for the EU-delegation? If yes, could you please provide us with the respective names?
  10. In public, we see allegations of corruption against a high-ranking official of the EEAS. Can the EEAS confirm any investigation?
  11. Does the EEAS together with the Commission investigate recruitment procedures?

Mogherini is expected to respond to these questions within a week.