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Protecting the financial interests of the Union. The role of administrative investigations

Piggy bank
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The European Anti-fraud Office (OLAF) is the EU body responsible for administrative investigations to fight illegal activities detrimental to the EU’s financial interests. Since its creation in 1999, OLAF has completed 3 500 investigations, which have led to the recovery of EU resources worth €1.1 billion (excluding financial penalties). A proposal to reform OLAF is currently on the table. This aims to increase the efficiency, effectiveness and accountability of the Office, while maintaining its independence for investigations.

However, in the fight against illegal activities affecting the finances of the EU, OLAF is only part of the picture. Investigations by national authorities, follow-up by national prosecutors and courts as well as effective cooperation between stakeholders also play key roles.

The European Commission considers that the level of protection for the EU’s financial interests still varies significantly across the Union. The European Parliament has repeatedly called for the fight against illegal activities to be stepped up.

The Lisbon Treaty has strengthened the EU’s legal options in this area. New developments, including the possible establishment of a European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), could have an impact on OLAF’s investigative activities.

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Further material explaining the work of OLAF


OLAF: detect, investigate, protect – EU Anti fraud


Operation Velvet Glove

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