THE PFIZERGATE FILE Laura Codruţa Kovesi, accused of obstructing the right to defense in the case of Covid 19 purchases

George Marinescu
English Section / 14 mai

Laura Codruţa Kovesi, accused of obstructing the right to defense in the case of Covid 19 purchases

Versiunea în limba română

Laura Codruţa Kovesi, chief prosecutor of the European Public Prosecutor's Office, and the EPPO are accused by the French lawyer Diane Protat in a criminal complaint for preventing the exercise of the right to the defense, says the publication France Soir in an article published at the end of last week.

The cited source states: "On Tuesday, May 7, 2024, lawyer Diane Protat went to the EPPO offices in Brussels. In order to prepare the defence, Ms Protat and her client wanted to access and obtain a copy of the EPPO file on the basis of which the European Public Prosecutor's Office submitted its observations. A normal request. However, surprisingly, not only was Diana Protat denied access to the file, but incredibly, the EPPO called the police! Contacted about this incident, Diane Protat explains that she spoke on the phone with an EPPO employee while at the premises of that institution and that this person told her that he did not have a file (ed. - regarding the purchase of vaccines Covid 19). She therefore asked this person to come down to stamp her application and write on it that the EPPO does not have a file. Instead of getting down, the EPPO employee sent the security men and later called the police. A witness at the scene reported: "The police, called by the EPPO, found that it was abnormal that the file (ed. - a copy of it) was not given to the lawyer and they considered that it was an attack consisting of preventing the exercise of the right to defence". Diane Protat explained: «As a result of these unacceptable acts, I have lodged a criminal complaint against the EPPO and Mrs Kovesi with the police inspector, under articles 151 and 152 of the Belgian Criminal Code. In addition, today I notified this situation to the United Nations Organization, through the Special Rapporteur for the independence of judges and lawyers»".

The whole situation took place practically 10 days before the hearing that was to take place at the Court of Liege, on Friday, May 17, a hearing which, according to the cited source, would have been requested by the European Public Prosecutor's Office itself, a procedure for which all the the plaintiff parties in the criminal case opened by the Belgian lobbyist Frederic Baldan, whose complaint was also joined by Hungary and Poland, states that were sued by the Pfizer company for refusing to purchase the quantities of anti-Covid 19 vaccine they ordered two or three years ago.

Journalist Xavier Azalbert, president of the Bon Sens Association who also filed a criminal complaint against Ursula von der Leyen regarding the purchase of anti-Covid19 vaccines, says that the attitude of the EPPO shows inconsistency as long as they summoned all the plaintiff parties to the Belgian court, but refuses to communicate them them, which contains the criminal file instrumented by the European Public Prosecutor's Office regarding the said case.

Moreover, according to the cited source, Tine Hollevoet - EPPO spokesperson - told France Soir: "When we have something to publicly communicate about this investigation, we will do it proactively, probably with a press release the press. That moment will be decided by us, not when you think we should communicate. All our investigations - like those of national prosecutors - are tried before national courts, so that ultimately a judge will have the last word".

Regarding the statement of Tine Hollevoet, the journalists from France Soir believe that the European Public Prosecutor's Office must communicate about this case, because the hearing of the applicants on May 17, 2024 is important, relevant information, in the context in which the applicants Ursula are accused in the case von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, Albert Bourla - CEO of Pfizer and even the American company Pfizer Inc.

Proceedings of the European Public Prosecutor's Office in the case instrumented by the Court of Liege

New information about this file cannot be obtained by Belgian journalists even from the prosecutor of the case in Liege, Frederic Demonceau, who was all the time unavailable, after the European Public Prosecutor's Office showed interest in the complaint made by Frederic Baldan, in 5 April 2023, at the investigative judge Frederic Frenay.

The quoted source says: "An investigation has been launched and someone close to them reported to France-Soir: "The allegations are serious", while another source explained: "In Belgium, investigating magistrates have put people under investigation for more little more than that', referring to certain investigations carried out by Judge Michael Claise, an investigating magistrate close to Judge Frenay, who objected to the EPPO taking over the files, which he considered to be infringing on the prerogatives of investigating magistrates in Belgium. Therefore, the complaint concerns a contract between Belgium and the vaccine manufacturer, (ed.- contract whose general terms would have been negotiated by Ursula von der Leyen through the advance purchase agreement - APA). The accusations (ed. - from the file filed by Baldan) are: usurpation of the title, destruction of documents, illegal collection of interest and corruption".

However, very shortly after the filing of the complaint, between May and the beginning of June 2023, the European Public Prosecutor's Office inquired about this case in order to obtain the file. The steps were taken by Jennifer Vanderputten, Belgian prosecutor delegated to the EPPO.

The cited source claims that the respective file is not within the competence of the European Public Prosecutor's Office: "Jennifer Vanderputten cannot ignore the fact that the contracts are signed and settled by the member states with the manufacturer and therefore do not affect the Union budget. As such, the file is not within the competence of the European Public Prosecutor's Office. This does not seem to stop her, however, as she continues to issue orders without the consent of Belgian prosecutor Frederic Demonceau. The latter seems to have become invisible or to have been removed from the file as early as June 13, 2023, when he wrote to the General Prosecutor's Office: «This case is now handled by your services under reference 23EC7». (...) Every time we tried to contact him, he was out of the office for several days. Holiday? Returning to the role of Jennifer Vanderputten, (...) took an interest in the investigation and the file, but the contracts (ed. - for the purchase of vaccines) do not affect the EU budget (ed. - being paid from the national budgets, of each member state)".

Asked by France Soir journalists why the European Public Prosecutor's Office is interested in the complaint filed by Frederic Baldan, Tine Hollevoet, the spokesperson of the European institution, answered: "We do not comment on ongoing investigations. As we told you before, the EPPO has no other information about which case to share; the ongoing judicial investigation into the EU's purchase of vaccines did not change overnight. I have already told you several times that the EPPO does not comment on ongoing investigations, and no matter how many times you ask questions, I will still send you the same answer."

Ursula von der Leyen's statements clarify the incompetence of the European Public Prosecutor's Office

The illegal interference of the European Public Prosecutor's Office in the case of anti-Covid 19 vaccine purchases pending before the Court of Liege, is evident if we consider Ursula von der Leyen's answers to the questions asked by one of her counter-candidates for the head of the European Commission, the Moldovan politician Valeriu Ghiletchi, at the candidates' debate which took place at the end of April in Maastricht.

During the debate, Valeriu Ghiletchi said: "I would now like to ask Mrs. von der Leyen a question. It is clear that corruption is one of the biggest weaknesses in interference. I do not accuse you of being influenced in this matter by Russia, but my question is this: Mrs von der Leyen you have several criminal cases open against you. If you will be voted for a future mandate, do you pledge here to show radical transparency and to cooperate with the Prosecutor's Office in the files that have been opened for you?"

Ursula Von der Leyen replied: "We have a judicial system that is independent and of course the judiciary creates the necessary transparency. I respect the independence of our judicial system."

The moderator of the debate intervened and reminded that several parties, including the extreme right, are using the Pfizergate file against Ursula von der Leyen. The moderator asked: "Do you regret that the way of negotiating these contracts regarding the vaccines purchased to fight the pandemic?".

Ursula von der Leyen replied: "First of all, we saved lives. We managed to vaccinate, at least with one dose, 80% of Europeans. We must not forget that. How were these contracts concluded? They were approved by the member states, by each member state. The state had a contract with a pharmaceutical company. The contracts were signed by the member states, not by the Commission".

Regarding the above statement of the president of the European Commission, we remind you that, according to the European legislation that is the basis of the organization and operation of the European Public Prosecutor's Office, its main task is the fight against defrauding the budget of the European Union and not the budget of each member state.

The source cited shows that the president of the European Commission and those around him have been tasked with negotiating an advance purchase agreement or a group purchase option contract on behalf of member states. It was later determined that the terms of the contract and the prices were not transparent (the contract was not made publicly available in its entirety despite numerous requests and procedures), and that the prices were not necessarily favorable. Once the agreement was negotiated, the member states contracted directly with the vaccine suppliers (Pfizer, Moderna, etc.), and the orders were drawn up through successful orders paid by the states without any intervention of the European Commission. A proof of this is the fact that in the last year Pfizer sued Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania for the vaccines ordered but not purchased, and not the European Commission, which proves that the national budget is affected, not the EU.

So the question remains: why does the European Public Prosecutor's Office want to take over the file from the Court of Liege, a case in which Frederic Baldan accuses Ursula von der Leyen of violating Belgian law, defrauding the budget of this European country?

According to sources cited by France Soir, the European prosecutor Vanderputten knows very well that the EPPO does not have jurisdiction in the case in Liege and therefore delayed to answer the investigating judge about its jurisdiction, just wanting to buy time. The same sources state that the European Prosecutor's Office was asked to wait with the instrumenting of the file, until the end of the European parliamentary elections from June 6-9.

France Soir journalists also show that, in order to serve the interests of Ursula von der Leyen, at the beginning of 2024, the European Public Prosecutor's Office filed a request for the inadmissibility of the plaintiff as a civil party, without making available to the plaintiffs in the case of the acquisition of anti-Covid 19 vaccines the basis or the reasons for such a request. The EPPO request seems odd to say the least, given that both Ursula von der Leyen and Albert Bourla have hired lawyers to represent them in that case against the claimants - Frederic Baldan, Hungary, Poland and the Bon Sens Association.

Increases the number of plaintiffs in Baldan's complaint

Regarding what will happen on Friday, May 17, at the Court of Liege, the source cited that Frederic Baldan did not want to comment at the moment, but France Soir journalists learned that new plaintiffs joined his complaint: French citizens, the Italian think-tank Generazioni Future, as well as other organizations from Croatia, Spain and Portugal. Therefore, the hearing on May 17 should not be a simple one, unless there will be pressure from the European Commission or the European Public Prosecutor's Office on the investigating judge. According to the quoted source, the EPPO seems more concerned with asking for the inadmissibility of the victims in order to deprive them of a fundamental and sovereign right - the right to defence, instead of checking whether the representatives of the European institutions comply with the legal norms.

Xavier Azalbert states: "Victims will expect the Belgian justice system to respect their rights to be considered as such. A true test of the autonomy and independence of the judiciary under the Belgian Constitution. In this process, the stake at Friday's hearing is fundamental rights, values for which no political party seems to be fighting anymore. (...) This hearing will probably lead to an adjournment to a later date".

From the above, it seems that the file will drag on and probably Ursula von der Leyen will renew her mandate at the head of the European Commission.

The European Public Prosecutor's Office threatens the European Commission with the court

The European Public Prosecutor's Office threatens the European Commission with a lawsuit if the necessary budget is not approved, according to a letter that, on April 9, Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruţa Kovesi sent to the Community Executive, a document that would have been seen by journalists.

In that letter, Laura Codruţa Kovesi claims that the Community Executive is depriving her of the necessary means to carry out her work effectively, putting pressure on the budget of the European Public Prosecutor's Office, especially on the amount spent on IT. Upon the operationalization of the European Public Prosecutor's Office, in the summer of 2021 the European Commission agreed to provide the necessary IT facilities, but at the beginning of 2024 it announced that it would no longer respect this commitment, it being an allocation of 5 million euros according to EPPO estimates.

In the quoted letter, Laura Codruţa Kovesi states: "The Commission has the duty to refrain from any measure that could jeopardize the achievement of the objective entrusted to the EPPO by the Treaty in order to combat crimes affecting the financial interests of the Union".

In this context, the cited source recalls that EPPO prosecutors last year opened more than 200 investigations into fraud related to the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility, which provides cash to the EU to help boost the post-Covid economic recovery and is worth more than euro800 billions of euros, and that they took over from the Belgian prosecutors a file in which Ursula von der Leyen is under criminal investigation for "interference in public functions, destruction of SMS, corruption and conflict of interest", even though no charges were brought person in that case.

Regarding the document sent by the head of the European Public Prosecutor's Office, the Commission specified that an amicable agreement will be reached, because the Community Executive is willing to continue supporting the provision of IT services, but under certain specific conditions.

The quoted source also shows that through a press release the European Commission denies any attempt to intervene in the EPPO's independence, states that it has constantly supported the activities of the European Public Prosecutor's Office and firmly rejects any insinuation that its decision on the budgetary procedure has anything to do with the investigations carried out by the prosecutors Europeans, including those in the Pfizergate file.

Cotaţii Internaţionale

vezi aici mai multe cotaţii

Bursa Construcţiilor