PracticePeople In PracticeEU anti-fraud unit reports investigations’ rise

EU anti-fraud unit reports investigations' rise

European Union anti-fraud unit OLAF says it is significantly increasing the number of its investigations generating prosecutions, although the proportion of cases closed without any follow up actions is still 49%.

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Director general Franz-Hermann Brner noted that the number of OLAF-inspired national or EU administrative, disciplinary or judicial proceedings rose from 45% of total cases in 2002-3 to 51% in 2003-4, themselves significant improvements on 28% in 2001-2 and 20% under OLAF’s predecessor, the European Commission in-house unit UCLAF.

‘The number of investigations yielding positive results, is a recognised indicator for evaluating the effectiveness of an investigation service,’ said Brner.

In a note, OLAF claimed the improvement was down to ‘more rigorous evaluation of the initial information’. These assessments are also taking less time, from 18 months on average in 2000-2001 to five months in 2003-2004. The director general also noted a recent 10% rise in fraud allegation tip offs.

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