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108 cases of fraud with European funds taken to court by anti-corruption prosecutors in 2019

judecator justitie

The financial enquiries and investigations conducted by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) help the investigative bodies identify the natural or legal persons involved in the criminal circuit, said head of the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) Crin Bologa in a speech given at a public hearing organized by the European Parliament via video conference.

"Specifically, OLAF investigators provide financial analyses and investigations, support us in identifying the individuals or legal entities involved, carry out checks on companies involved in the criminal circuit in various member states, they obtain documents about the implementation of projects with partners in member states, and all this data is being put to use and detailed subsequently, as part of the judicial activities," Bologa said, as cited in a DNA release.

The subject of the public hearing was 'Follow-up of OLAF case files, fighting fraud, corruption and other irregularities in the Member States'.

In his speech, the DNA chief prosecutor presented Romania's perspective on the investigation of frauds involving European funds, noting that, although it is an administrative investigation body, the data and information OLAF provides the criminal investigation contribute to shortening investigation time and increasing the effectiveness of criminal prosecution measures.

In the end of his speech, Bologa highlighted the good collaboration DNA has had with OLAF in over 17 years of investigating fraud with European funds.

The speakers at the event included representatives of law enforcement authorities in Germany and Italy, the OLAF Director-General, the European Public Prosecutor and a representative of the EU Court of Justice.

As many as 84 OLAF recommendations have been received between 2012 - 2018, of which 25 - that is 30 percent - were used in criminal cases sent to court.

On the other hand, DNA's work concerning European fraud is much broader than the scope of OLAF reports.

According to the cited source, criminal cases of this type are based on notifications from various national sources, primarily from the Romanian Anti-Fraud Coordination and Control Agency, which also ensures contact with OLAF, respectively the Anti-Fraud Department (DLAF), but also from other legal or natural persons.

"If we refer only to last year, DNA prosecutors sent to court 108 cases of fraud with European funds (through indictment or guilty plea), involving damages of about 40 million euros, most of which, specifically 38 million euros, represented EU funds, and the rest - national co-financing funds," the DNA said in the release.

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