The rules make it clear that all "gifts" to Commissioners with a value of over £120 must be included in a declaration of interests.
But, unlike MEPs, Commissioners are not bound to declare free holidays or hospitality they receive – such as a night\’s accommodation on a yacht – as this is apparently not counted as a gift
A commission spokesman denied that Lord Mandelson\’s stay for one or possibly two nights on Mr Deripaska\’s yacht, the Queen K, was a breach of the Code.
"The Commission is unaware of circumstances suggesting a breach of rules or a conflict of interest. No evidence for such claims has been brought forward. The Commission considers therefore that there are no grounds for an investigation," he said.
Commission officials told The Sunday Telegraph that private holidays were not covered by the Code of Conduct.
So if someone paid for a Commissioner to sail around the world in the first class stateroom of the QE II (yes, I know, it\’s out of commission now but…) then this wwould not be a declarable interest?
That\’s something of a gaping loophole in the rules isn\’t it?