This update was first published in the January 2012 International edition of Accounting and Business magazine.
The EU’s OLAF anti-fraud office has revealed in its 2011 annual report (on the EU’s 2010 accounts) that fraud continues to be a serious problem across the continent.
OLAF opened 225 new investigative and operational cases in the year – more than in 2009 and an increase on the previous year. However, there was a steep fall in the amounts of money recovered from closed OLAF enquiries in 2010 – €67.9m compared with €251.3m in 2009 and €147.7m in 2008.
In terms of national breakdowns of current investigations, Bulgaria (often criticised for its anti-fraud performance) had the most cases, with 81. It was followed by Italy with 41, Belgium with 37 (a number inflated by the large number of EU institutions that are based in Brussels), Romania with 36, Germany with 34, and Greece and Britain both with 23.
Keith Nuthall, journalist