OLAF /08/09 Brussels, 16 September 2008

An official of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) has been posted to work in Beijing. The deployment of the official will strengthen the protection of the EU's financial interests and facilitate international co-working with the Chinese authorities. The OLAF representative will support the anti-contraband and anti-counterfeit activities of the Office, principally in relation to cigarette smuggling.

"This is an important step forward in the international co-operation against fraud" said Franz-Hermann Brüner, Director General of OLAF, in Brussels. "Being present in one of the most dynamic regions will give an additional boost to OLAF's efficiency in the fight against anti-contraband and anti-counterfeit activities", he added. And he concluded: "OLAF is ready to deploy officials to other key areas in the future."

In recent years, the number of cigarettes on the EU black market which originate in China has grown significantly, prompting this unprecedented step by the European Anti-Fraud Office. The presence of an OLAF official in China will ensure daily contact with Chinese law enforcement agencies and provide valuable intelligence for OLAF investigators and for their colleagues in the Member States. Having an OLAF presence on the ground will assist the Office in complex, international fraud investigations, as well as contributing to the implementation of the Agreements between the European Commission and 26 Member States and Philip Morris International and Japan Tobacco International with a view to combating counterfeiting and smuggling.

The official will spend 4 years in Beijing and will be integrated into the Delegation of the European Commission but will report directly to OLAF on operational matters. This is the third time that OLAF officials have been sent to work abroad; all previous postings outside Brussels were to what were then candidate countries (Poland, Romania, Bulgaria).

Jörg Wojahn
Deputy Spokesman of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF)
Tel : +32 (0)2 296.54.25
Fax : +32 (0)2 299.81.01
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