Stolen EU funds in the billions, top official says
2013 09 18

By Nikolaj Nielsen | EUObserver

The annual theft of EU funds is around €500 million, but a top European Commission official says the figure is likely in the billions.

“We have reasons to believe that the real figure is closer to billions than to millions,” Francoise Le Bail, who heads the commission’s justice directorate-general, told the European Parliament’s civil liberties committee on Wednesday (18 September).

The current €500 million figure arises from statistics sent to Olaf, the EU anti-fraud office, by member states, but Le Bail said national authorities do not have the right tools to make an accurate estimate.

Le Bail, along with Olaf boss Giovanni Kessler, spoke to MEPs to set out their case for tracking down those who steal EU money by setting up a new European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO).

The EU-wide prosecutor would be mandated to investigate fraud of EU finances, although the Lisbon Treaty says the office’s power could be expanded at a later date.

The top prosecutor would be composed of a central office along with deputies or prosecutors from different member states. Most member states would also have an EPPO branch staffed with prosecutors selected by the respective national governments.

Kessler says the office is necessary because national authorities have a dismal track record when it comes to chasing down leads sent to them by Olaf.

“There is a non-uniformity by member states in their capacity and willingness to deal effectively with these kinds of crimes,” he said.

Conviction rates sent to Olaf over the past 13 years vary from less than 5 percent in some member states to over 90 percent in others.

Both Le Bail and Kessler said political will among some member states to stop the theft is either non-existent or primarily focused on a national perspective that fails to look at the transnational nature of the crime.

“Crimes which are committed by authors at the same time by different actors in different member states like corruption, like fraud involving European funds, are likely not to be discovered, not to be even seen or perceived by national authorities which only have a national fragmented perspective,” said Kessler.

[...]

Read the full article at: euobserver.com



Related Articles
EU president muzzles auditors who have refused to sign off the bureaucrats’ accounts for last 18 years
EU lawmakers give Euro Central Bank new powers
"Better defence spending" needed to back up EU ’principles’
New EU Plan Will Make Every Bank Account In Europe Vulnerable To Cyprus-Style Wealth Confiscation


Latest News from our Front Page

Slaves of Charleston - Beyond Wealth of Jewish South Carolina
2014 09 15
Founded in 1749 in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, the Beth Elohim Synagogue is one of the very earliest synagogues in America. While other synagogues and congregations are also now a part of Charleston city life, Beth Elohim Synagogue is the oldest one in the area and serves as the repository for certain historical artifacts of Jewish life in the city. ...
Martian meteorite yields more evidence of the possibility of life on Mars
2014 09 15
A tiny fragment of Martian meteorite 1.3 billion years old is helping to make the case for the possibility of life on Mars, say scientists. The finding of a ‘cell-like’ structure, which investigators now know once held water, came about as a result of collaboration between scientists in the UK and Greece. Their findings are published in the latest edition ...
Swedish Surprise: Anti-Immigration Party Surges...
2014 09 15
Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt Sunday’s election in Sweden was supposed to be a cakewalk for the Left. The Drudge Report ran a piece yesterday from the Guardian entitled: “Free-market era in Sweden swept away as feminists and greens plot new path.” The paper, a left-wing British outlet, published the piece the day before the election; it proved to be, well, ...
UK School to fingerprint students to ‘monitor their diets’
2014 09 15
STOURBRIDGE, England – A school is implementing a biometric system to better track what students are eating each day. The Express & Star reports students at Redhill School in Stourbridge, England will be fingerprinted in an attempt to reduce lunch lines and “monitor pupils’ diets.” The system requires pupils to press a finger against a machine which converts the print into ...
U.S. State Department Orders 160,000 Ebola Hazmat Suits
2014 09 15
The U.S. State Department has ordered 160,000 Hazmat suits for Ebola, prompting concerns that the federal government is anticipating the rapid spread of a virus that has already claimed an unprecedented number of lives. In a press release posted by Market Watch, Lakeland Industries, a manufacturer of industrial protective clothing for first responders, announced that it had signaled its intention “to ...
More News »