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Ombudsman opens inquiry into how EIB handled move by a former Vice-President to an energy utility company

The European Ombudsman has opened an inquiry into how the European Investment Bank (EIB) handled the request by a former Vice-President and Management Committee member to take up a post at Spanish company Iberdrola that had received loans from the bank.

The inquiry - following a complaint by two Members of the European Parliament - will examine the EIB’s decision to approve the former Vice-President’s new job.

The Ombudsman has asked to inspect all documents related to the approval of the request as well as those that relate to any interactions the former Vice-President had with representatives from Iberdrola, among others, in the context of the EIB’s financing negotiations with the company.

Further questions to the EIB seek details on when the former Vice-President became aware of the job opportunity, and whether the EIB considered the possible ‘appearance’ of a conflict of interest before approving the new job.

This inquiry is part of overall monitoring by the Ombudsman of how the EU administration implements the ethics obligations on EU staff who move to the private sector. The Ombudsman recently launched a wide-ranging inquiry into how the Commission handles so-called ‘revolving doors’ cases among its staff and has an ongoing inquiry concerning the European Defence Agency.