EC `fat cat' may lose his new job

MARTIN BANGEMANN, the outgoing German European commissioner who caused a storm over his plans to move to the private sector, could now lose his lucrative new job as well as being stripped of his pension rights.

The former industry commissioner in charge of telecommunications strategy caused uproar last month over his decision to join the board of Telefonica, the Spanish telecoms company, on a reported salary of between pounds 600,000 and pounds 700,000 a year.

However, the company is delaying confirmation of Mr Bangemann's position on its board,and there is speculation that he is now being seen as a costly liability.

The loss of the post would be the final insult for Mr Bangemann, who faces action in the European Court of Justice tostrip him of his European pension entitlement, worth around pounds 60,000 a year.

The news emerged last night as the European Commission was attacked for its bureaucratic culture of secrecy. The comments came in a draft document of a report by the same inquiry team whose investigations caused mass resignations in March.The new inquiry is to establish culpability.