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Press release27 November 2017European Anti-Fraud Office

OLAF funds airplane scanner at Zaventem Airport



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Thanks to financial support from the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), Brussels Airport will now become even more efficient in fighting smuggling, having acquired a state-of-the-art scanner van, able to X-ray airplanes. The scanner will be particularly used to detect trafficked cigarettes as well as narcotic products, which are not only illegal, but harmful for the health of European citizens.

The hi-tech scanner allows for fast and efficient targeted checks, which ensure more rapid processing of goods, saving time for economic operators. The scanner also reveals clear images, allowing for a quicker analysis. Moreover, the compact shape of the van and the agility of the device mean that customs officer can carry out a large number of scans in hard-to-reach places, including on the tarmac.

"The new scanner is valuable for all,"  Kristian Vanderwaeren, Administrator General of the Belgian Customs said. "It increases the safety of Belgian citizens, as well as the efficiency of customs officers, while saving time for professionals."

This is the second such device used in Belgium. The first scanner, also funded by OLAF in 2014, is used at the Port of Antwerp to inspect containers and trucks.

"Smugglers are becoming increasingly creative, and customs agencies need to rise to the challenge," OLAF Director of Investigations Ernesto Bianchi said. "We are happy to be able to help our Belgian colleagues in stemming cigarette and drug trafficking," he added.

The scanner was purchased through the Hercule III, a financial programme specifically dedicated to fighting fraud, corruption and any other illegal activities affecting the financial interests of the EU. Hercule III provides for the collective procurement of specialised equipment and databases used by national law enforcement agencies, as well as for the training of anti-fraud specialists. The programme covers the period 2014-2020 and will provide a total of EUR 104.9 million of support to European Union Member States.  

© EU

Scanner van at the back of the aircraft, ©EU


OLAF mission, mandate and competences:

OLAF’s mission is to detect, investigate and stop fraud with EU funds. 

OLAF fulfils its mission by:
• carrying out independent investigations into fraud and corruption involving EU funds, so as to ensure that all EU taxpayers’ money reaches projects that can create jobs and growth in Europe;
• contributing to strengthening citizens’ trust in the EU Institutions by investigating serious misconduct by EU staff and members of the EU Institutions;
• developing a sound EU anti-fraud policy.

In its independent investigative function, OLAF can investigate matters relating to fraud, corruption and other offences affecting the EU financial interests concerning:
• all EU expenditure: the main spending categories are Structural Funds, agricultural policy and rural development funds, direct expenditure and external aid;
• some areas of EU revenue, mainly customs duties;
• suspicions of serious misconduct by EU staff and members of the EU institutions.

For further details:

Acting Spokesperson
European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF)
Phone +32(0)2 29-81764
Twitter: @OLAFPress


Publication date
27 November 2017
European Anti-Fraud Office
News type
OLAF press release