European Anti-Fraud Office

Legal background

Legal background

The legal basis for the fight against fraud is Article 325 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (replacing Article 280 of the EC Treaty).

1. Establishment of OLAF


2. OLAF's role and Investigations

The following regulations and agreements define the Office’s main role and  remit for carrying out its administrative investigations. These include investigations (concerning EU financial interests) in the Member States and those involving staff of the EU institutions.

3. Horizontal EU legislation concerning on-the-spot checks/inspections in the Member States

4. Sectoral EU legislation

 The following regulations contain provisions on the prevention and detection of irregularities:

Compliance Guidance for Sea-Carriers to report Container Status Messages (CSMs), as stipulated by Regulation 515/97  - Annex containing CN codes

  • Common Agricultural Policy (CAP, including the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund   (EAGF) and European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)): Article 37 of Council Regulation (EC) No 1290/2005  of 21 June 2005.
  • Structural Funds (the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Cohesion Fund): Article 72 of Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006 of 11 July 2006 (repealing Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999 and amended by Council Regulations (EC) Nos 1989/2006, 1341/2008, 85/2009, 284/2009 and 539/2010).
  • Direct expenditure: Council Regulation (EC) No 1605/2002 .

5. Notification of irregularities and recovery of misused funds

6. Conventions

Council conventions, adopted or to be adopted by the Member States, to combat fraud/corruption at European level by harmonising national criminal law.

1) 1st Protocol
2) 2nd Protocol and its explanatory report
3) Protocol on the competence of the Court of Justice

Commission reports concerning the implementation by Member States of the EU Convention of 26 July 1995 and its related protocols:

a) 2004 report and annex
b) 2008 report and annex

7. Working Arrangements

8. Agreements with third parties

Agreements with third parties containing provisions on mutual administrative assistance in customs matters

9. Case law

Digest of rulings of the Court of Justice of the European Union with relevance to OLAF