The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) issued 397 recommendations in 2014, a record over the past 5 years, said its president Giovanni Kessler when the organisation’s annual report was released on Tuesday. OLAF received 1,417 reports of potential fraud last year, the highest number since it was set up. The Office opened 234 investigations in 2014 and completed a total of 250. Investigations have also got shorter over the past 5 years, going down to an average length of 21 months. “We focused on the investigations we thought needed our involvement the most (…), i.e. complex investigations in areas such as structural funds, customs, smuggling, trade and external aid,” said Kessler.
Of the 1,417 reports of potential fraud OLAF received in 2014, 458 came from public sources (national authorities, institutions, etc.) and 959 from private sources. This increase in reports “does not necessarily mean fraud is on the rise in Europe,” clarified the president, who sees it more as proof of “increasing public confidence.”
The European Anti-Fraud Office issued 397 recommendations last year (compared to 353 in 2013 and 199 in 2012) and recommended the EU recover of 901 million euros, the largest amount over the last five years.