EUROJUST AND OLAF CONFERRED ON INCREASED CO-OPERATION

Joint press release OLAF and EUROJUST OLAF /08/02 Brussels, 7 March 2008

Eurojust and OLAF exchanged views in a joint conference on a further improved co-ordination and co-operation in the fight against financial fraud.

During a two-day conference in The Hague, Eurojust’s National Members, officials from the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and judicial professionals from all over Europe gathered to look into a better use of the know-how and resources of both organisations. They focused on the international dimension of fraud and corruption, its links and trends, and the need to put in place effective countermeasures. The event was organised by Eurojust and OLAF.

The participants were high-level officials from the national authorities of all 27 Member States specialised in the fight against corruption and financial fraud. Also in attendance were the Eurojust Liaison Prosecutors from Norway and the USA.

Large-scale fraud or corruption is often transnational. Even in cases where a large-scale fraud is perpetrated entirely within the borders of one country, the necessity to transfer funds overseas introduces an international element. Organised criminal groups have demonstrated their preference for "systemic" corruption, designed to ensure the preservation of a congenial and low-risk home base or a comfortable environment in host countries.

A growing awareness that fraud and corruption are a serious problem has galvanised support for an international and co-ordinated approach towards it. In spite of this awareness, it remains a highly complex phenomenon.

Mr José Luís Lopes da Mota, President and National Member for Portugal at Eurojust, was very pleased with the outcome of the conference:

"Criminal activities have developed in a professional and sophisticated way, are increasingly well organised and take advantage of new information technologies and the gaps between national legal systems. Investigation and prosecution of cross-border and organised crime require expertise, co-ordination and close co-operation between investigators and judicial authorities. Eurojust and OLAF have different competences but play a complementary role and share the same objective – to effectively fight fraud, corruption and other criminal offences affecting the European Union. This seminar is an important step towards a better understanding of the roles of Eurojust and OLAF and the search for justice via more co-ordinated action and co-operation."

At the conference, Mr Franz-Hermann Brüner, Director-General of OLAF, commented:

"We are inviting practitioners from the whole of Europe to better understand that with good co-operation and the will to share information, through bodies like Eurojust and like OLAF, their cases will be much more successful. They have to understand that criminal activity especially in the field of economic crime, is no longer a domestic crime; it is a European crime or even a world-wide crime. There is a need for these conferences to widen the view of colleagues in the Member States."

BACKGROUND

Eurojust is a European Union body established in 2002 to enhance the effectiveness of the competent authorities within Member States when they are dealing with the investigation and prosecution of serious cross-border and organised crime.

Eurojust stimulates and improves the co-ordination of investigations and prosecutions between competent authorities in the Member States. Eurojust improves co-operation between the competent authorities of the Member States, in particular by facilitating the execution of international mutual legal assistance and the implementation of extradition requests. Eurojust supports the competent authorities of the Member States in order to render their investigations and prosecutions more effective when dealing with cross-border crime.

Mr José Luís Lopes da Mota is President and National Member for Portugal and was elected Vice-President in February 2007 and President in November 2007.

http://eurojust.europa.eu

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OLAF (European Anti-Fraud Office) has a mission to protect the financial interests of the European Union, to fight fraud, corruption and any other irregular activity, including misconduct within the European Institutions. In pursuing this mission in an accountable, transparent and cost-effective manner, OLAF aims to provide a quality service to the citizens of Europe.

OLAF achieves its mission by conducting, in full independence, internal and external investigations. It also organises close and regular co-operation between the competent authorities of the Member States in order to co-ordinate their activities. OLAF supplies Member States with the necessary support and technical know-how to help them in their anti-fraud activities. It contributes to the design of the anti-fraud strategy of the European Union and takes the necessary initiatives to strengthen the relevant legislation.

Mr Franz-Hermann Brüner was nominated by the European Commission as Director-General of the European Anti-Fraud Office for a term of five years from March 2000. His position was renewed for a second term in February 2006.

http://olaf.europa.eu/

Joannes THUY, PhD
Press Officer - Spokesperson
EUROJUST
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Alessandro Butticé
Head of Spokesman, Communication and PRUnit
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