#AceFinanceNews – BRUSSELS – June 19 – The EU’s anti-fraud office Olaf will have to ask permission to enter the offices of elected and appointed members of the EU institutions under proposals by the European Commission.
“For all the other staff, Olaf will continue to work as it has up to now,” European Commission spokesperson Emer Traynor told this website on Wednesday (18 June).
The proposal tabled earlier this month by the Brussels executive aims to set up a new post to make sure Olaf investigators follow procedural rules.
The commission wants to create a so-called Controller of Procedural Guarantees.
Olaf investigators will first have to ask the Controller’s permission before entering the office of a European Commissioner, an MEP, or a minister at the EU Council.
Everyone else, including staff and personnel, are not protected under the additional safeguard.
The number of corruption probes into staff at the EU institutions is on the rise, according to the EU anti-fraud office Olaf.
“Over the last two years, we’ve increased the number of disciplinary recommendations, this refers only to staff of the EU institutions,” EU anti-fraud chief at Giovanni Kessler told reporters in Brussels on Tuesday (29 April).
(OLAF Anti-Fraud Team of Investigators)
Olaf issued 24 so-called disciplinary recommendations last year. Its 2013 annual report, released Tuesday, also noted 46 ongoing cases against EU personnel.
Kessler, for his part, refused to break down the 46 cases by institutions, citing confidentiality issues.
“Most of these investigations start from the institutions themselves on their own staff,” he said.
Euro-deputies, while not technically staff, would not be excluded from the 46 figure, said Olaf’s spokesperson.
As a result of the 3 500 investigations OLAF has completed since it was set up in 1999:
- 335 individuals have received prison sentences totalling 900 years
- over €1.1 billion of EU money has been recovered (excluding financial penalties)
- on average OLAF has recovered €100 million a year.
Results for 2012:
- €94.5 million recovered for the EU budget
- EU Member State courts issued a cumulative 511 years of prison sentences – not including an additional 70 years of suspended sentences .
How much does OLAF cost EU tax payers?
- OLAF’s running costs for 2012 amount to €57.4 million
- OLAF is also providing €21.5 million in grants and project funding to help authorities and organisations fight fraud both inside and outside the EU.
How many people are involved in fighting fraud in the EU?
- EU countries manage 80% of EU funds and have primary responsibility for fighting fraud. They employ most of those involved in this fight for example 500 000 police officers.
- OLAF has 435 staff – of which more than two-thirds work on fraud investigations.
What is OLAF’s case load?
- OLAF had 716 ongoing cases at the end of 2012, out of which 515 were investigation cases and 201 were coordination cases.
- OLAF opened 718 new cases and closed 465 cases in 2012.
- Average length of an investigation was 17.3 months in 2012.
- Average length of the selection of cases was 1.4 months in 2012.
How much fraud is committed in the EU?
EU countries reported:
- irregularities reported as fraudulent costing €315 million (0.25% of total EU expenditure) in 2012 – compared with €295 million (0.21%) in 2011
- irregularities not reported as fraudulent costing €2.6 billion (2.06% of total EU expenditure) in 2012 – compared with €1.2 billion (0.86% of total EU expenditure) in 2011
- irregularities reported as fraudulent involving €77.6 million (0.42% of the gross amount of traditional own resources collected) for 2012 compared with €109 million (1.24%) for 2011
- irregularities not reported as fraudulent involving €370 million (1.69% of the gross amount of traditional own resources collected) for 2012 compared with €278 million (1.24%) for 2011
Financial corrections and recovery
- Financial corrections for more than €3.7 billion and recoveries for €678 million were implemented in 2012 compared with €1.1 billion and €733 million respectively in 2011.