EU chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker has launched an unprecedented ethics investigation into his predecessor, Jose Manuel Barroso, questioning whether he broke EU law by taking a job at Goldman Sachs.Sonia Legg reports
It's a classic example of poacher turned gamekeeper. At least that's the way some see the appointment of Manuel Barroso as an adviser at Goldman Sachs. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DARREN SINDEN, INDEPENDENT FINANCIAL ANALYST, SAYING: "Goldman Sachs is viewed by some in the hierarchy as something of the enemy - they view the bank as being one of the prime movers in the financial crisis and to see a former President of the EU move across to start working for them really probably sticks in their core if I can put it like that." The EU's Chief Executive Jean-Claude Juncker has launched an unprecedented ethics investigation into his predecessor's appointment. It'll be carried out by former EU figures and will seek clarification about the role from the former Portuguese premier. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DARREN SINDEN, INDEPENDENT FINANCIAL ANALYST, SAYING: "He's well within his rights to take up that job. He left his previous job 20 months ago, that's well outside the covenants that his prior contracts had. So whilst it might leave a bad taste in his former colleagues' mouths it seems to be all above board in that respect." It's not hard to see why the U.S. investment bank is keen to have him on board, especially with Brexit negotiations looming. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DARREN SINDEN, INDEPENDENT FINANCIAL ANALYST, SAYING: "He offers Goldman Sachs a fantastic book of European connections. He knows anyone who is anyone, both in terms of the EU and its member states." But by taking the job Barroso will forfeit his current position in Brussels. He'll now be treated as a mere lobbyist not a former president. And he may lose a few friends - 140,000 people have signed a petition started by EU staff. They say it's a disastrous symbol for a Union increasingly seen as pawn of global capital.