Belgian court sentences former staff member of EU delegation to imprisonment for corruption

OLAF /11/08 Brussels, 12 May 2011

A former staff member of the Delegation of the EU to Ukraine has been found guilty of corruption and sentenced to 18 months of imprisonment and a fine of 5000 €. The prison sentence is suspended except for the six months of preventive detention already served. The sentence was made public by the 47th Chamber of the Criminal Court in Brussels on Friday 6 May. The successful prosecution in this case was the result of investigations started by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and then carried out by both OLAF and judicial authorities in Belgium.

“Criminal proceedings involving EU staff are very rare but when they happen they are often lengthy. Thanks to the swift action taken by the Belgian judicial authorities, this case sets an important precedent. Close cooperation between them, us and the relevant European Commission service also contributed to the successful conclusion of this case,” said OLAF Director-General Giovanni Kessler.

The EU staff member who was first employed as a local and then as a contract agent asked bidders submitting offers for commission in several tender processes. In one of these tenders, concerning the implementation of post-Chernobyl aid under the TACIS programme, he asked bidders for a 4% commission. One of the bidding companies accepted to pay a commission of 2.5% of the contract value of about 19 million euro. As the tender was stopped before the contract was awarded the EU staff member did not receive any commission and there was no direct impact on the EU budget.

OLAF first received information from a company that had turned down the staff member’s offer. OLAF conducted an investigation into the matter that confirmed the company's allegation and informed then the Belgian judicial authorities, which requested the Commission to lift the staff member’s immunity. He was arrested in Belgium in May 2006 and detained until November 2006. The European Commission suspended him from office and eventually dismissed him in July 2007. During the investigation, OLAF co-operated closely with the Belgian judicial authorities and assisted them, inter alia, during an international rogatory commission in Ukraine.

The objective of the TACIS programme is to encourage democratisation, strengthen the rule of law and facilitate the transition to a market economy in the Independent States which were created as a result of the break-up of the Soviet Union.

Pavel BOĊ˜KOVEC
Head of Unit Spokesman,
Communication, Public Relations
European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF)
Rue Joseph II, 30 B-1049 Brussels (Belgium)
Phone: +32 2 296 72 00
Fax: +32 2 2998101
E-mail: olaf-press@ec.europa.eu
All available translations.

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