Article by Michael Gallagher, photo from Wikipedia and shared under the creative comms license.
A man who uncovered alleged serious fraud within the EU ended up in hospital with PTSD after being ‘hounded’ out of his job.
Robert McCoy came forward with allegations of systematic fraud and embezzlement in the EU’s Committee of the Regions in the early noughties and was subsequently ‘hounded’ out of his job by colleagues and superiors, whom compared him to the Nazi Gestapo.
Some of the abuses he had uncovered included a former (unnamed) president who would arrive at an airport at 11:40 in the evening for a “bogus meeting” which was “purely to justify the payment of an extra 500 euros.”
Speaking to the Newscoop website, Mr McCoy says that he wanted to inform the European anti-fraud office (OLAF) so they could recover the money and “take the necessary steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”
“I wasn’t interested in people going to prison, I just wanted to make sure that we protected the EU tax payers’ money,” he said.
He was told by his superiors that his discoveries did not constitute fraud because “it’s not enough money.”
“How out of touch with the day-to-day reality of common people can one get?,” Mr McCoy asked, “if I were a single mother with two children to feed, 500€ or even 100€ a day is a lot of money.”
A decision which would lead him to being dismissed.
Mr McCoy told the UK’s Channel Four News: “It was initially threats to tow the line, I had threats against my family, my children, etc…
“I’d get anonymous phone calls in the middle of the night…I’d go in the morning at 6:30 to my office and I’d know that people had been routing through my papers.”
Mr McCoy said the ordeal led him to have a nervous breakdown which landed him in hospital for 12 weeks.
“I couldn’t sleep, I was having panic attacks,” he told Channel Four. “I was examined by 23 specialists who came to unanimous conclusions that I had a burn out and suffer from Post-traumatic stress disorder.”
Mr Mcoy’s legal battle with the COR continues to this day, despite two court rulings in his favour and a 2015 motion by the European Parliament to withhold money from the body until it addresses the claim.