Internal investigations focus on personnel of the EU, that is to say on their place of employment, their place of origin, the place forming the centre of their interests and the scene of the fraud, the irregularity or the illegal activity prejudicial to the interests of the Union or liable to bring the European institutions into disrepute. The only limit to the geographical scope of investigations is compliance with the national law of the country in which the investigations are conducted.
This means that it is possible, for example, that investigators go to France to gather testimony, summon persons responsible for financial transactions to Brussels and make a request by letter rogatory to Spain in order to check on the movement of funds through the account of the person under investigation.
OLAF investigates cases:
- that arise in any country of the EU;
- that arise anywhere else in the world;
- that have international or cross-border elements or need wider geographical coverage because of the fraudsters’ operating methods.
At the present time, most internal investigations are conducted in Brussels or Luxembourg because of the large concentrations of staff and members of the European institutions in those cities. OLAF works in close cooperation with the police and the judicial services in both of these locations.