Press Release OLAF/09/2001, 21 November 2001

In relation to the information contained in the article entitled "Three judges for Brussels thanks to a shady competition" published today in the Il Messaggero, I would like to make the following clarifications.

The European Anti-fraud Office was created to strengthen the fight against fraud, corruption and all other illegal activity detrimental to the financial interests of the European Community. Since March 2001 OLAF is directed by its Director General, the German magistrate Franz-Herman Brüner, nominated by the European Commission in consultation with

By virtue of the applicable legislation, the Director General will neither solicit nor accept instructions from any government, institution, organ or organisation in the carrying out of his responsibility for the opening and conduct of internal or external investigations and relative to the drawing up of reports based on these investigations. This is also true for the recruitment procedures of staff and the nomination of the management of the Office. This principle is also applicable with respect to the nomination of Mr Alberto Perduca as Director of Operations and Investigations of the Office as well as for the two other Italian magistrates, recruited as 'temporary agents' in accordance with the terms of a selection procedure carried out at Community level. This recruitment procedure was publicised, by among other means, the use of the normal official channels (communication with the Member States through their diplomatic missions) and also on the OLAF web-site at the following address: 2000/02_2000_en.htmAll available translations.

Despite the fact that a Member State or a Community Institution might wish to have a particular post for a specific person (the article refers to the preference given to Mr Perduca by the Italian government and the President of the European Commission Mr Romano Prodi) no influence in this respect was brought to bear on the Director General, neither for Mr Perduca nor in respect of the two other magistrates.

In order to guarantee its independence, the Office is subject to regular controls by the Supervisory CommitteeAll available translations. , made up of five persons from outside the Community institutions, independent and particularly qualified in the areas of competence of the Office. Additionally, if the Director General feels that a measure taken by the Commission threatens his independence, he can make a complaint against this institution before the Court of Justice.

The publication of the announcement of the competition for the post of Director of Operations and Investigations was dated 21 December 2000. This was sent to the ambassadors of the fifteen Member States, requesting from them a targeted distribution within their national administrations (having regard to the very specialised tasks requiring a large amount of professional experience). OLAF received 16 applications from 11 Member States including Italy.

Mr Brüner selected Mr Perduca on 24 April 2001 following a detailed examination of his candidature by a selection committee headed by the current president of the OLAF Supervisory Committee Mr Raymond Kendall.

The publication of the announcement of the competition for the recruitment of OLAF temporary agents specialised in the area of criminal law, which resulted in the nomination of two other Italian magistrates, dates from 23 February 2001. 178 candidates participated in this competition, of which 53 were Italian. These candidates were rigorously examined by a selection board, which supplied the Director General with a list from which the new temporary agents were recruited. The majority of these agents (including Mr Piacente) have been assigned to the unit "Magistrates and Judicial Advice".

This is to reiterate that in the framework of these two competitions, the selection was based exclusively on the professional and linguistic competence and the investigative experience within an international framework of the candidates. It should be noted that Mr Alberto Perduca has worked in the past, for three years, for the anti-fraud services of the European Commission and also for one year in the office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Mr Perduca also sat a competition in autumn 1999, along with at least 400 other candidates from all other Member States of the European Union, for the post of Director General of OLAF. He succeeded in all the stages of the complex selection procedure and was placed on the list of 3 successful candidates. It was from this list of 3 that, in the end, Mr Brüner was chosen.

The Director General of OLAF hopes that the Office can soon welcome Messrs. Perduca and Vaudano and continue to enjoy the services of Mr Piacente (who came to the office last June directly from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia). This wish is based on the facts that these persons have succeeded in complex selection procedures, that none of them will be engaged to work in the new Directorate "Intelligence, Operational Strategy and Information Technology" and that the other Member States have all authorised the engagement of all other magistrates selected by the Office.

Mr Alessandro Butticé
OLAF Spokesman
Tel: + 32 (0)2 296 5425
Fax: + 32 (0)2 299 8101

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