EU Anti-Fraud Agency Uses Unauthorised Investigation Methods?

Three The EU anti-fraud agency OLAF has been accused of intercepting phones in its investigations without prior agreement, says one of its supervisory board members.

The scandalous claims were made by Herbert Bosch, a former Member of European Parliament (MEP). He is now at the five-member supervisory board that oversees OLAF investigations. His statement came during a debate at the European Parliament’s budgetary control committee this month. It gives a reason to investigate possible unauthorised surveillance conducted by one of the most important anti-fraud organisations in the world.

OLAF that is based in Brussels, Belgium, has denied the allegations that are now repeated also by other MEPs as ‘very serious’. Bart Staes and Jose Bove, two members of the Green Party said that if proven, this will become a matter of criminal investigation. Unauthorised methods of OLAF’s investigation allegedly involved wiretapping in some of its inquiries, as well as recording interviews with witnesses and people under investigation without their prior consent. OLAF’s Director General has also been accused of conducting some of these investigations.

The cases where unauthorised surveillance was allegedly used focus on controversial EU policies that regulate areas where there are big financial interest and strong political lobby. For example, one possible case includes John Dalli, the former EU Health Commissioner who resigned late last year amid allegations that he was aware of attempts to alter a revision of the tobacco products directive in exchange for cash. OLAF conducted a full inquiry into the so-called “Dalligate” case, but the result of its findings have only been seen by the Parliament’s political group leaders and not all MEPs.

Dalli strenuously denies any involvement the case, which is still the subject of an inquiry in his native Malta. However, it has been explicitly stated that OLAF has been involved in unauthorised activities concerning also other cases apart from Dalli’s, some of which are current.

Source: Parliament: