Europol, the European police force headquarted in The Hague, is experiencing
its first scandal.
According to information from the news magazine “Der
Spiegel,” this week the Dutch police took the head of Europol’s IT
department, Nicolas Pougnet, temporarily into custody. The high-ranking
Europol officer has been accused of serious fraud and document
falsification. An internal department investigation had revealed that at
least DM 250,000 of money designated for new computer systems was siphoned
off into private foreign accounts, according to Europol. Some of the
accounts are supposedly held with offshore companies in the Bermudas.
The IT expert, whose immunity has since been revoked, also had contact with
the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND). In projects for speech
recognition systems, he cooperated with BND employees specializing in that area,
who invested money in the dubious Belgian speech technology company, Lernout
& Hauspie. The founder of L&H has since been imprisoned following an accounting scandal.
involved Europol officer now works as a policeman in Albania. The Dutch
courts must now also investigate whether Europol money was put aside for
this secret service connection as well. The scandal comes at a very bad time
for the Europol management, because Europol would like to extend its
jurisdiction. Some EU member states would like to see Europol expand into a