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European Anti-Fraud Office
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Who does OLAF work with?

When it investigates EU personnel, OLAF cooperates closely with any party that can shed light on the activities under investigation.

In the first instance, OLAF works with the institutions to which the investigated personnel are attached. In cases where these institutions possess their own investigative powers, they are required to give way to OLAF by refraining from conducting their own enquiries so as not to hamper OLAF’s investigations.

Secondly, the Office works with the European Public Prosecutor's Office and with judicial authorities of the host state or of the country in which the activities under investigation took place. The activities must be classifiable as criminal offences. OLAF must give way to judicial authorities by refraining from any action that could interfere with criminal investigations.

Thirdly, closer cooperation between the Office on the one hand and an agency of the Union known as Eurojust as well as the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) on the other is prescribed by the new Regulation 883/2013. The Regulation envisages the following arrangements:

  • exchange of operational, strategic or technical information, including personal data and classified information and, on request, progress reports;
  • compulsory transmission of relevant information regarding serious crime to Eurojust if the information held by OLAF may help Eurojust to perform its duties.

Fourthly, OLAF cooperates with countries outside the EU and with international organisations for the purpose of exchanging operational, strategic or technical information, including progress reports on request, in accordance with the conditions set out in Article 14 of Regulation 883/2013. Practical examples of such cooperation include OLAF’s work with the United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services, the World Bank and the police forces of a number of African countries.

Lastly, within the European Commission, OLAF cooperates with IDOC, the Investigation and Discipline Office of the Commssion, which investigates breaches of the Staff Regulations of the European institutions and which applies the same zero-tolerance policy as OLAF.

  • OLAF is empowered to review all cases before deciding whether to investigate itself or refer the matter to IDOC.
  • IDOC provides disciplinary follow-up in cases where OLAF investigations have identified irregularities.
  • IDOC deals with all cases that do not fall within the jurisdiction of the European Anti-Fraud Office or which are not already under investigation by the latter.

IDOC publishes an internal annual report in which it explains to officials the outcome of the cases referred to it by OLAF and the penalties applied, such as a reprimand, demotion, dismissal and withdrawal of pension entitlements. Unexpected and unusual offences, such as human trafficking, child pornography and violence towards colleagues, are subject to internal administrative penalties in addition to the appropriate criminal sanctions.

It is immaterial whether misdemeanours relate to the private lives of personnel before recruitment or after severance or to their professional lives; what matters is that the institution has been jeopardised by their dishonourable and reprehensible conduct.