- 1. Concerning the case of the purchase of the residence for the EU Ambassador in Albania which was for paid by the EU budget at a cost of €1.65m, we received the following statement, on June 8 from the OLAF Press Office.
2. OLAF conducted a preliminary analysis of the available information regarding this specific matter. After this analysis, the office decided not to open an investigation as there was no suspicion of fraud or irregularities justifying the opening of an investigation. However, should OLAF become aware of new information of potential investigative interest, these new aspects can be analysed by the office anytime.
3. Same day we sent to OLAF the following questions:
1) When you say that OLAF has conducted a preliminary analysis, do you mean the Complaint filed about this issue on May 11, was taken into consideration?
We note that the Complaint was (a) registered by OLAF, (b) processed by 01, (c) the conclusions of 01 were forwarded to the Director General, and, (d) the Director General dismissed
the case, in less than one month including two holidays (18 working days)?
1b) Unless the above Complaint was not taken into
consideration as it had to go through the normal procedure which usually takes at least three months before any conclusion is drawn (if not years).
2) In conducting your preliminary analysis, did OLAF review the following documents which ware asked by New Europe from EAAS but the two first were never released and the third was released almost totally redacted?
(i) the market survey carried out prior to purchase,
(ii) the evaluation carried out by the independent expert,
(iii) the report of the Regional Security Officer of the EEAS in relation to security aspects.
3) In conducting the preliminary analysis on this case did OLAF has taken into consideration the 11 questions asked by MEP to EAAS and the replies provided by EAAS? (Questions and answers are attached for your convenience).
4. In response, OLAF Press office supplied the following replies:
As a general rule, OLAF analyses incoming information of potential investigative interest according to standard procedures. Specialised experts evaluate this information to find out whether:
– it falls within OLAF’s competence to act (i.e. it relates to OLAF’s mandate to protect the EU’s financial interests, if for example EU funds are involved etc.),
– there is sufficient suspicion of fraud, corruption or any illegal activity affecting the EU’s financial interests for OLAF to open a case (Regulation 883/2013), and
– consideration may also be given to whether such information
falls within the investigative policy priorities of OLAF.
OLAF takes into account all available information in its selection procedure. It is only after such an initial assessment that OLAF decides whether or not to open an investigation. While there is no exact deadline for completing this preliminary evaluation, the average duration of selections in 2016 was 1.7 months (see OLAF Report for 2016, figure 18 on p. 50).
5. On June 9 we wrote to OLAF:
Thank you for the copy-paste from the OLAF Regulation 883/2013 and from the OLAF Report for 2016, but this is not what I have asked you for.
In my humble opinion if I print your initial statement, my Email to you of yesterday, your replies today and my comments below, this will not contribute to the good image of OLAF for which, as an ordinary EU citizen, I do care.
Therefore, I will keep your statement for one week so to get replies to the specific questions I posed.
Furthermore, I have one additional question:
When the “preliminary analysis” you mentioned in your official statement took place (start and end date)?
6. It took three working days for OLAF Press office to give the following enlightening reply
We cannot issue any further comment on the matter.