OLAF/04/12 Brussels, the 11 June 2004

A new European network aims to help to fight fraud against international aid funds. This project of an "EU FraudNet", proposed by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), shall be designed to foster the co-operation among different international donors and investigative bodies. It was discussed during a two-day conference on "Fraud and Aid Funds" which finished today in Brussels.

A call for participation in the pilot project "EU FraudNet" stood at the end of the conference "Fraud and Aid Funds - What the International Community can do", organised by OLAF. More than 130 participants form all over the world - public prosecutors, police and investigations officers, government representatives, legal experts and officials - convened in Brussels to share their experience and analyse the problems of co-ordination between different international donors and investigative bodies. "The discussion of several concrete case studies has helped to increase the awareness of the legal and practical difficulties", Franz-Hermann Bruener, OLAF Director General, said. "Co-operation is crucial in order to effectively protect international aid funds against fraud and misuse", he added.

At the end of the conference, OLAF invited the participants to examine the possibility of developing a system for the exchange of information about detected fraudulent misappropriation of international aid funds - the "EU FraudNet". It aims to help donors and investigators to cross check their information about recipients of international aid and to verify whether any doubts about their handling of funds had been raised.

The fight against fraudulent misappropriation of international aid funds is an enormous challenge for donors and investigative bodies. The mere falsification and multiple use of invoice or the intentional non-realisation of a subsidised project are only the most obvious examples of criminal behaviour. During the Brussels conference, more complex cases have been highlighted: of organisations only set up to cash in monies from different donors, of organisations set up under different names in different countries, of the fictitious participation of different organisations in a consortium in order to receive a higher amount of funds for the consortium leader. In other cases fraudulent recipients of international aid avoided to declare the contributions made by one donor in their applications to other donors, thus illegally retrieving more funds than the project requires.

Dr. Alessandro Butticé
Head of Communication, PR and Spokesman Unit
Tel : +32 (0)2 296.54.25
Fax : +32 (0)2 299.81.01

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