But Bonde managed to maintain his influence over the purse strings, and kept Van Grunderbeeck in her job, by arranging the appointment of a a new 'Joint Secretary General', a chap named Herman Verheirstraeten. Verhheirstraeten was a veteran of the EP, and also of indigenious politics, where he is said to have once lost a lucrative government position because of a "breakdown of trust" between himself and his boss. He knew Van Grunderbeeck well, as in her early days in the EP she was employed as his secretary. In fact, he knew her very well indeed, as they are married! The Guardian reported that "an old fashioned Brussels carve-up" was on the way (July 1, 2004).
And a hell of a carve-up it proved to be, with Bonde using his continued influence to ensure that Ind Dem (and this includes UKIP MEPs) continued to fund his wife's business venture, the EU Observer, and also his own political project, the EU Democrats. The latter group supplies staff for Libertas in Brussels, at the expense of Ind Dem (UKIP) MEPs.
But it was Van Grunderbeeck and Verheirstraeten who carved off the best slice of cash. Although they had a "job -sharing" arrangement, meaning that Ind Dem only had a functioning secretariat for two and a half days a week (less in the event of bank holidays), an arrangement was made by which pension contributions were made for both of them on the basis of full time employment for both - one job, two pensions! No wonder Ind Dem (UKIP) MEPs were starved of staff.
Both took early retirement before the end of the Parliament, and now enjoy a staggering €15,000 per month, tax free, for the rest of their lives (not to mention free private health care at taxpayers expense). Compare this to the meagre state pensions of the many UKIP supporters and donors who have stumped up cash time and time again in election campaigns, believing that they were taking part in the fight against this sort of profligacy.
This is where the money that UKIP has brought in through its membership of Ind Dem has gone to.
Their replacement is Emmanuel Bordez, a French official of the EU Democrats and a colleague of the French Libertas candidates in the Ind Dem group. We are sure he hopes for a good UKIP result in June, so he can continue to top up his own pension plan.
Two UKIP staff members have been interviewed recently by OLAF over the illegal payments to EU Observer, which despite what UKIP MEPs were promised, continued until January of this year. Verheirstraeten was named in a complaint to Brussels police over the attempted hacking into UKIP staff computers.
That investigation is understood to be ongoing.