Complaints on OLAF investigations

Any person affected by an OLAF investigation may address a complaint directly to OLAF. OLAF will ensure that all complaints are treated promptly, and in a diligent and fair manner. OLAF's procedure for dealing with such complaints is detailed in Part A below.

In addition, any such person may address his complaint to institutions or bodies, independent and external to OLAF, as set out in Part B below.

A. Complaints addressed to OLAF

All complaints in connection with OLAF's investigations should be addressed to the Director General of OLAF; they are treated in the following manner:

1.    Complaints concerning procedural guarantees in the context of investigations

1.1     All complaints received from persons involved in investigations, concerning the handling of their procedural guarantees by OLAF pursuant to Article 9 of Regulation No 883/2013, will be handled by the Legal Advice Unit.

1.2     The Legal Advice Unit will have full access to all relevant information and will be provided with any necessary assistance by the responsible investigative Directorate. The Legal Advice Unit will review the complaint and consult the Advisor to the responsible investigative Director.  The Legal Advice Unit will report its findings to the Director-General.

1.3     The Director-General will take appropriate action in respect of a failure by OLAF to respect procedural guarantees in the course of an investigation.

1.4     The Director-General will reply to the complainant within two months of the registration date of the complaint, unless a longer period is justified by the complexity of the matter.

1.5     This complaint procedure does not apply to investigations that have been closed and transferred to competent authorities.
 

2.    Complaints under Article 90a of the Staff Regulations  

2.1     Officials and other EU staff may complain to OLAF under Article 90a of the Staff Regulations against any act adversely affecting them in connection with OLAF investigations. Any such complaint will be handled by the Legal Advice Unit. (https://myintracomm.ec.europa.eu/hr_admin/en/staff-regulations/officials/Pages/title-7.aspx)

2.2     The transmission of a Final Report with or without recommendations does not constitute an act adversely affecting a person within the meaning of the Staff Regulations and is therefore not directly challengeable.

2.3     The Legal Advice Unit will review the complaint and consult the Advisor to the responsible investigative Director.  The Legal Advice Unit will report its findings to the Director-General.

2.4     The Director-General will take appropriate action in respect of any prejudice incurred and notify the complainant within four months of the registration date of the complaint.

2.5     If at the end of that period OLAF has not provided a reply, this shall be deemed to constitute an implied decision rejecting the complaint and against which an appeal may be lodged under Article 91 of the Staff Regulations.

3.    Complaints concerning data protection

3.1     The Legal Advice Unit will review objections from data subjects on the processing of their personal data, pursuant to Article 18 of Regulation (EC) No 45/2001, addressed to OLAF as controller. The Legal Advice Unit will, after consulting the Advisor to the responsible investigative Director and the Data Protection Officer (DPO), prepare the draft reply to the data subject.

3.2     The Director-General will reply to the data subject within two months from the date of the registration of the objection, unless a longer period is justified by the complexity of the matter.

4.    Complaints concerning public access to documents or files under Regulation 1049/2001

4.1     A person involved in an investigation has no right of access to the case file. A complaint made by such a person concerning the handling of the case file may be treated under point 1 above concerning procedural guarantees.

4.2     Requests, pursuant to Regulation 1049/2001, for public access to documents or files will be handled by the Legal Advice Unit as follows.

4.3     The Legal Advice Unit will review the request and, after consulting the Advisor to the responsible investigative Director, will prepare a draft reply to the applicant.

4.4     The responsible Director (or the Head of the investigation Selection and Review Unit) will reply within 15 working days of the registration date of the request.

4.5     Article 7(2) of Regulation 1049/2001 foresees the possibility for the applicant, in the event OLAF totally or partially rejected an application for access to a document, within 15 working days of receiving OLAF's reply, to make a confirmatory request asking OLAF to reconsider its position (http://ec.europa.eu/transparency/access_documents/index_en.htmAll available translations.).

4.6     Confirmatory requests will be handled by the Legal Advice Unit in consultation with the Legal Service of the Commission. The Legal Advice Unit will prepare a draft reply to the applicant.

4.7     The Director-General of OLAF or the Secretary General of the Commission will reply within 15 working days of the registration date of the confirmatory request.

4.8     The deadlines may be extended by an additional 15 working days if needed.

B. Complaints addressed to external and independent institutions or bodies

Complainants may also address their complaints concerning actions taken by OLAF, to inter alia the following institutions or bodies external to OLAF:

5.1     The European Ombudsman is responsible for investigating complaints concerning maladministration in the institutions and bodies of the European Union (http://www.ombudsman.europa.eu). Where OLAF fails to respect fundamental rights, legal rules or principles of good administration, any natural or legal person having his/her residence within the EU may lodge a complaint to the European Ombudsman.

5.2     The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) is an independent authority responsible for the protection of personal data and privacy. Individuals who consider that their rights relating to data protection (pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 45/2001) have been infringed by OLAF are entitled to lodge a complaint with the EDPS or with the DPO of OLAF. (https://secure.edps.europa.eu/EDPSWEB/edps/EDPS?lang=en)

5.3     The Court of Justice of the European Union is responsible for reviewing, including under interim and/or expedited procedures, the legality of the acts of the institutions of the European Union, including investigative activities of OLAF (http://curia.europa.eu).

5.4     The National courts may be addressed in the context of judicial proceedings initiated following OLAF investigations.

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Last update: 19/09/2014