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EU's anti-fraud boss to be hauled before European Parliament

Olaf accused of irregularities and conflicts of interest

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The EU's anti-fraud chief is to be brought before the European Parliament over allegations of conflicts of interest and operational irregularities at Olaf.

Franz-Hermann Brüner is the head of Olaf, the European anti-fraud office set up eight years ago to combat fraud and corruption.

According to today's Financial Times, the allegations relate to job applications for the role of director of investigations that were screened by a eurocrat who was herself under investigation by Olaf.

Dutch MEP Paul van Buitenen, who will be giving evidence to the European Parliament's budgetary committee on 16 July, said despite the "seriousness" of the case an internal candidate for the job tried to stop any disciplinary action against the female official.

He also argued that Olaf should not investigate fraud allegations pertaining to its own office, because conflict of interest was likely to arise.

The unnamed eurocrat at the centre of the allegations was removed from the pre-screening panel on 25 January.

Buitenen, who has been a vocal critic of the European Commission's workings, said: "The reforms of Olaf that were recommended by a committee of experts in 1999 after the fall of the commission have not been implemented."

The commission, for its part, denied the allegations and said it supports investigations of all EU bodies by the anti-fraud office, including Olaf itself. ®

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