Anti-fraud unit to have its wings clipped

The independence of European Union (EU) anti-fraud unit OLAF is likely to be
curbed by reforms proposed by the European Commission, which is keen to avoid
future scandals such as that involving statistical agency Eurostat.

In that case, problems dragged on because OLAF inquiries were kept secret,
but under the new proposals, institutions affected by an alleged fraud would
have to be alerted about any OLAF investigation.

The subject of any inquiries would also be disclosed, allowing them to make
their own case before the police or other authorities were informed.

EU anti-fraud Commissioner Siim Kallas said: ‘All these measures will
strengthen OLAF as a pillar of public trust in the fight against fraud and

However, critics are bound to focus on OLAF’s loss of independence, and point
to claims that the recent reappointment of a politically weak Franz-Hermann
Brüner as director general could lead to OLAF losing some autonomy.

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