18:21 GMT22 April 2021
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    The news comes amid ongoing controversy over the hedgefund billionaire's attempts to meddle in the United Kingdom's effort to leave the European Union.

    A group of lawmakers from the European Parliament have accused billionaire financier George Soros of attempting to undermine European democracy via his recent closed-door meeting with a director of the European Central Bank.

    The 87-year-old hedge fund manager held a private meeting with Benoit Coeure, one of the six members of the ECB's board last November to discuss "euro area deepening," according to an excerpt from Coeure's diary which was published on Thursday. A source close to the matter confirmed that the discussion took place, and that it included the theme of a common budget and treasury for the Eurozone.

    The secretive meeting led to criticism from European lawmakers.

    "I think it's illegitimate of Mr. Soros to instrumentalize the ECB for his own political purposes," Bernd Lucke, MEP from Germany from the European Conservatives & Reformists Group, said.

    For his part, Marco Zanni, MEP from Italy from the Eurosceptical Europe of Nations & Freedom Group, said that these sorts of secretive, closed door meetings between powerful individuals were "not compatible with institutions that consider themselves democratic."

    Sven Giegold from the Greens/European Free Alliance Group rushed to Soros' defense, insisting that it was the ECB's mission "to work in order to keep the euro zone intact," and that "meeting with someone influential who does the same is part of the mandate."

    Soros' meeting with Coeure took place on November 14. An ECB spokesperson said the pair focused on euro area integration, and did not discuss issues such as monetary policy or Brexit. Coeure is a well-known advocate of a treasury for the euro area.

    Soros has been accused of meddling in Britain's affairs, after pledging to donate an additional 100,000 pounds to a campaign aimed at stopping Brexit, on top of some 400,000 pounds committed earlier.

    Soros, best known in the business world for currency speculation against the British pound which pocketed him $1 billion in 1992, is involved in a series of campaigns to try to influence politics across the globe. Earlier this week, Hungarian lawmakers introduced a bill which would enable the country's interior ministry to ban Soros-supported NGOs from encouraging migration. Last month, Soros accused the Trump administration of being a "danger to the world," and ominously hinted that the president was a "purely temporary phenomenon that will disappear in 2020, or even sooner."


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    meddling, interference, criticism, European Central Bank, Benoit Coeure, George Soros, Europe
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