The first step in investigations is to establish the facts. Without full investigation of the evidence for and against the suspect, the facts cannot give rise to consequences prescribed by EU law.
The establishment of the facts by OLAF’s investigations may also clear personnel of the European Union of any false allegations or malicious accusation made against them.
Investigations culminate in recommendations made by the Director-General as to the action that should or should not be taken in response to the findings. These recommendations may indicate:
- disciplinary measures, such as a reprimand, demotion or dismissal,
- administrative measures, such as amendments to contracts, changes in rules or improvements to recruitment procedures,
- financial measures, such as recovery of disbursed funds, imposition of financial penalties or exclusion from procurement procedures, and/or
- judicial measures, such as a report to the competent public prosecutor's office.
Such measures would then be taken by the institutions of the European Union or by the competent authorities of the relevant Member State. OLAF has no power to impose sanctions or to take any action against persons under investigation or persons who, in the light of the facts, are shown to bear some degree of responsibility.