GATHERING ANTI-FRAUD EVIDENCE FOR THE JUDICIARY

OLAF /06/10 Brussels, 23 June 2006

The findings in investigation reports from the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) can be used as evidence in judicial proceedings in all EU-Member States. OLAF and public prosecutors are key partners in the fight against fraud and corruption to the detriment of the European Union. During a two-day conference which finished today in Brussels, OLAF judicial experts discussed the practical and legal framework of OLAF’s co-operation with the national judicial authorities. Over 60 anti-fraud prosecutors from all EU-Member States and Candidate Countries participated.

“One key to the success of OLAF’s work is the awareness amongst national public prosecutors of OLAF’s role and competences”, Franz-Hermann Brüner, Director General of the European Anti-Fraud Office, explained. “Therefore it is very important for the fight against fraud and corruption that a permanent exchange between OLAF and members of the national judiciary bodies on best practices and mutual expectations takes place”, he added.

During the 4th Conference for Prosecutors, organised by OLAF on 22 and 23 June in Brussels, the role of the European Anti-Fraud Office in national criminal proceedings was top of the agenda. Itself not having any judicial powers, OLAF considers the good co-operation with public prosecutors in the Member States of utmost importance. For the national judiciary “OLAF investigations can indeed make a difference”, as the Belgian Advocate-General Francis Desterbeck recently pointed out in a widely noticed speech.

The second topic of the conference, which by now has become a yearly event, was the possible involvement of national prosecutors in the work of the Advisory Committee for the Coordination of Fraud Prevention (COCOLAF), which the Commission may consult on any matter relating to the prevention and prosecution of EU-fraud.

Alessandro Butticé
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