Press Release OLAF/19/2003, 10 July 2003
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) handed down today its judgement in the cases C-11/00 and C-15/00. It has held that the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) can investigate alleged wrongdoing at the European Central Bank (ECB) and European Investment Bank (EIB). The Court also annulled decisions taken by the ECB and EIB by which they reserved the right to conduct such investigations internally.
OLAF, which was established in 1999, has as its principal role the fight against fraud and the protection of the financial interests of the European Union.
To carry out its functions, OLAF has been granted powers by Community legislation to conduct administrative investigations inside and outside the Community institutions, bodies and agencies.
The ECB and the EIB considering that the aforementioned legislation did not apply to them, decided to reserve these powers of internal investigation to themselves.
The European Commission has brought two actions for annulment before the ECJ in respect of these decisions.
In its decision, (which can be consulted at the following links)
the Court held that the 1999 regulation concerning investigations conducted by OLAF is, therefore, applicable to both the ECB and the EIB.
Since the decisions of the ECB and the EIB have precisely the effect of preventing that regulation from applying to them, the Court decided that the decisions should be annulled.
In its judgment, the Courts underlined, inter alia:
The European Commission has also published a press release (IP03/994) in connection with this case.
The Press Release published by the Press and
Information division of the Court can be consulted
Mr Alessandro Butticé
Spokesman of the European Anti-fraud Office (OLAF)
Fax : +32 (0)2 299.8101