Fraud – Europe ignores UK auditors

The UK and Germany were not represented among the five European experts appointed last Thursday to formulate the terms of reference for the European Union’s new European fraud investigation office.

The ‘committee of experts’, which has been given just over a month to lay the foundations for the new unit, comprises three auditors and two law professors.

Andre Middelhoek, a Dutchman, and France’s Pierre Lelong are both former presidents of the EU Court of Auditors. The panel also includes Inga-Britt Ahlenus, auditor general of the Swedish Audit Court.

Belgian Walter van Gerven, a former advocate general at the EU Court of Justice and Juan Antonio Carillo Salcedo, a Spanish law professor and former member of the EU Court of Human Rights complete the fraud panel.

Julian Paleson, head of the English ICA’s Brussels office, said the panel’s composition reversed the ‘continental tradition of appointing lawyers and economists to important positions’.

With two ex-presidents of the Court of Auditors on the panel, it would probably steer the investigation unit away from replicating the court’s traditional audit role, he added. But senior accountants in Brussels have voiced doubts that enough resources will be made available to attract up to 600 suitably qualified staff to the new unit, tentatively named ‘OLAF’.

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