European Anti-Fraud Office

History

History

The European Anti-Fraud Office is also known as OLAF, from its French name: Office de Lutte Anti-Fraude.

2020

In December, the revised Regulation 883/2013 (the so-called OLAF Regulation) was adopted. It sets out how OLAF will work in complementarity with the prosecutors in the European Public Prosecutors Office (EPPO) to ensure that EU funding is well protected.  

In June, OLAF underwent a significant reorganisation. The new internal organisation structure: 

  • links the knowledge that OLAF has in anti-fraud strategy with the intelligence collected in its investigations & operations;
  • allows for flexibility and adequate prioritising of investigations and strategic tasks;
  • strengthens stakeholder relations, communication and outreach activities;
  • reinforces the strategic role of data analysis and intelligence in OLAF;
  • is adaptable to the EPPO operations in due time.
2019 In April, the Commission adopted its new Anti-Fraud Strategy that seeks to further improve the detection, sanctioning and prevention of fraud. The new Strategy pushes for more consistency and better coordination in the fight against fraud among the various Commission departments. It also seeks to reinforce the Commission's corporate oversight of fraud issues, by giving the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) a much stronger advisory and supervisory role. 

2018
 

Ville Itälä was appointed OLAF’s Director-General.
 
2017

In November, the EU adopted Regulation (EU) 2017/1939 to set up a European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), an independent and decentralised prosecution office of the European Union with the competence to investigate, prosecute and bring to judgment crimes against the EU budget. It establishes a system of shared competences between the EPPO and national authorities in tackling such cases.

In July, the EU adopted the Directive on the fight against fraud to the Union's financial interests by means of criminal law ("PIF directive"). Its aim is to create a stronger and more harmonised system, with minimum common rules, to fight crime affecting the EU budget. Applying criminal law, the EU’s financial interests and taxpayers’ money can be better protected across the EU.

2015

Following the organisational restructuring by the Juncker-Commission, Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN) took over from OLAF the responsibility for the area of the protection of the Euro.

2013

On 1 October 2013, Regulation No 883/2013 on investigations by OLAF entered into force. It brought significant changes to the work of OLAF and to its relations with various stakeholders. The Regulation further defines the rights of persons concerned, introduces an annual exchange of views between OLAF and the EU institutions and requires that each Member State designate an Anti-Fraud Coordination Service.
 
The Guidelines on Investigation Procedures (GIP) was issued. It is a set of internal rules that staff has to apply in order to ensure that OLAF investigations are carried out in a consistent and coherent way.

2012

Significant changes were introduced on 1 February 2012 to OLAF’s internal organisation and investigative procedures aiming mainly to reinforce the investigative function and strengthen OLAF’s contribution to antifraud policies.

2011

A new European Commission strategy was adopted to improve the prevention and detection of fraud, the conditions for fraud investigations as well as recovery and deterrence.

Giovanni Kessler was appointed OLAF’s Director-General.

2010

A new, web-based tool, the Fraud Notification System (FNS) was launched by OLAF allowing citizens to pass on information concerning potential corruption and fraud online.

2006

2006 was the first year when the number of investigations which OLAF conducted on its own account equalled the number of cases in which OLAF was assisting Member State authorities.

A major internal reorganisation of OLAF took place with the objective to place more emphasis on OLAF’s operational work, to improve communication within the Office, and to strengthen its management.

2004

The European Community set up the Hercule programme to promote activities related to the protection of its financial interests.

2000

Franz-Hermann Brüner was appointed OLAF’s founding Director-General.

1999

Further to the events which led to the resignation of the Santer Commission, proposals were put forward for a new anti-fraud body (OLAF) with stronger investigative powers. These proposals resulted in:

1995

UCLAF was authorised to launch investigations on its own initiative, on the basis of information from various sources. All Commission departments were required to inform UCLAF of any suspected instances of fraud within their areas of responsibility.

1993

UCLAF’s powers gradually increased following recommendations by the European Parliament.

1988

The Task Force "Anti-Fraud Coordination Unit" (UCLAF) was created as part of the Secretariat-General of the European Commission. UCLAF worked alongside national anti-fraud departments and provided the coordination and assistance needed to tackle transnational organised fraud.