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EU anti‐fraud enforcement: overcoming obstacles

Simone White (OLAF, European Commission, Bruxelles, Belgium Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, London, UK)

Journal of Financial Crime

ISSN: 1359-0790

Article publication date: 5 January 2010




The purpose of this paper is to analyse the extent to which the (changing) European Union (EU) constitutional context impacts on the investigation of fraud affecting the EU budget, with a focus on fraud affecting expenditure.


The paper is based on legal issues perceived by a European law specialist working within OLAF. The legal framework and several cases are used to illustrate various difficulties in operational work. First of all, the paper argues that cooperation between EU bodies such as Europol, Eurojust, the European Judicial Network and European Anti‐Fraud Office (OLAF) is not yet optimal. Nor is the legal framework for OLAF's work. Internal blockages exist. This is illustrated in relation to a number of operational issues.


The paper argues that much has been achieved through secondary legislation in the criminal law sphere under the Treaty of Nice but real difficulties continue at the operational level. As far as operational cooperation, effectiveness and defence rights are concerned, some of the legal problems and internal blockages identified here can be removed regardless of the eventual situation in relation to the establishment of a European Public Prosecutor.

Research limitations/implications

The paper focuses on legal problems and blockages experienced by OLAF investigators in the present legal framework.

Practical implications

The paper should be of interest to anyone engaging in the study of anti‐fraud enforcement and to investigators and prosecutors.


The paper provides an insight into European Commission anti‐fraud enforcement.



White, S. (2010), "EU anti‐fraud enforcement: overcoming obstacles", Journal of Financial Crime, Vol. 17 No. 1, pp. 81-99.



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Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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