More than 160 investigations were conducted by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) in 2018. During this time, the organization managed to identify damage to the EU budget of 371 million euros, OLAF’s spokesman told Anticorr.media.
«The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) maintained a strong investigative performance in 2018, focusing its efforts on the areas where it could bring the highest added value to European citizens – complex, transnational cases that would be impossible to tackle by national authorities alone. Whether in the field of Structural Funds, Customs or Direct Expenditure, OLAF’s unique expertise and its team of highly-qualified investigators, forensic experts and analysts have helped the Office solve even the most difficult cases, and stop organised criminals from defrauding the EU budget», – said in OLAF.
In 2018 OLAF concluded 167 investigations, issuing 256 recommendations to the relevant national and EU authorities. As a result European Anti-Fraud Office recommended the recovery of EUR 371 million to the EU budget. Also OLAF opened 219 new investigations, following 1259 preliminary analyses carried out by OLAF experts.
A study of fraud cases by OLAF revealed the following trends: setting up fake companies and disguising falsified business transactions in order to obtain EU funds, fraud in the promotion of agricultural products, with money often being laundered through third countries, the evasion of customs duties orchestrated through transnational criminal schemes.
The European Anti-Fraud Office was founded in 1999 by the European Commission to combat corruption in the implementation of EU programs and policies. The Bureau is an independent organization working with specialized national agencies. Its requirements are not binding, however, OLAF investigative materials often form the basis of cases brought by national law enforcement agencies.