The Annual Report of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), published on Tuesday, says its investigations led to the recovery of €691 million and a cumulative 511 years of prison sentences being issued by Member State courts in 2011.
"Thanks to our investigations, a considerable amount of money was recovered to EU taxpayers and a large number of criminals were brought to justice in national courts for crimes against the EU budget," said OLAF's Director-General, Giovanni Kessler.
He said OLAF wants to step up this fight, and to increase focus on the efficiency and results of its investigations and strengthen cooperation with partners both within and outside the EU.
Out of 463 cases handled by OLAF in 2011, the highest recoveries were recorded in the structural funds sector (€524.7 million), followed by customs (€113.7 million) and agriculture (€34 million).
As a result of legal action in Member States, following OLAF's recommendations, national courts sentenced fraudsters to a cumulative 511 years' imprisonment in 2011 and imposed financial penalties amounting to nearly €155 million.
OLAF opened 178 new cases, 80% of which were investigations. 208 investigative and coordination cases were closed during the year.
The report includes a sample of cases studies to present an overview of OLAF's investigations into suspected crimes against different sectors of the EU budget. These include the smuggling of biodiesel, a fraudulent structural funds tender, and corruption by an EU delegation official.
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: email@example.com