Press Release OLAF/16/2003, 3 June 2003

Certain articles that have appeared in the press in recent days regarding the investigations carried out by the European Anti-Fraud Office, (OLAF) into affairs at Eurostat call for some clarification. At the moment these investigations are solely concerned with a number of firms and organisations that have had or still have business dealings with Eurostat. Provisional findings have been referred to the judicial authorities in Luxembourg and Paris. Further ongoing investigations are confined to some senior staff at Eurostat.

Within the European Commission, Ms Schreyer is the Commissioner responsible for action to combat fraud. Contrary to some press reports, however, this does not mean that she has privileged access to information from OLAF. Her political responsibility for the fight against fraud includes safeguarding OLAF's operational independence. The course of the investigations in question, conducted without any outside interference, clearly demonstrates that this independence has been fully respected.

Mr Alessandro Butticé
Spokesman of the European Anti-fraud Office (OLAF)
Fax : +32 (0)2 299.8101

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