A Maltese EU official is being investigated for allegedly beating an Italian woman with a Mussolini plaque during an “anti-Semitic rant” outside the Brussels headquarters, the Times of Malta has learnt.

Stefan Grech, 45, a European Commission administrator, is being investigated by the Belgian police for assaulting the woman, a unit head at the European Council, and calling her “a dirty Jew” back in July.

The European Commission has also opened an internal investigation into the allegations.

Mr Grech allegedly beat the senior official, who is not Jewish, with the metal plaque of the Italian dictator and striking her in the face, after he was allegedly heard praising fascist policies on Jews.

The Italian unit head, 50, whose identity would not be disclosed by the Belgian authorities, is claiming Mr Grech did not stop there, and went on to wrap his hands around her throat, strangling her.

The woman was treated at the nearby Park Leopold Hospital, where she is claiming doctors diagnosed her with concussion. In her complaint to the police, the woman said she was also seeing a psychologist to receive treatment for anxiety.

Benito Mussolini was not the only dictator involved, and the victim is also claiming Mr Grech was heard praising infamous German fascist Hitler, saying “he should have exterminated all the Jews”.

Contacted for his reaction Mr Grech said the incident was being “blown out of proportion” and declined to comment further. His Facebook account exhibits a number of pro-Palestinian comments and images.

European Commission vice-president for human resources Kristalina Georgieva said Mr Grech would not be reprimanded until the facts were ascertained.

“What is important now is that the facts are established. The Belgian authorities are currently doing exactly that. In the meantime, the presumption of innocence applies,” she said.

She added that if these allegations were proven to be true they were very troubling, as “it goes against our fundamental values.

“The European Commission has zero tolerance for any act of racism, hate speech or other unethical behaviour by our staff, including anti-Semitic actions,” she said.

Mr Grech is the chairman of the EU labour union, Generation 2004. He is also Economy shadow minister Claudio Grech’s brother and a columnist with the General Workers union website iNews.

This is not Mr Grech’s first brush with the law. In 2002 he was convicted of possessing and distributing child pornography. He was handed a suspended sentence after the courts heard that he had been under psychiatric care long before the incident.

 

 

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