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Decision in case 629/2017/PMC on the European Commission’s suggestion that the complainant report a concern to the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) instead of investigating and reporting it to OLAF itself

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  • Case: 629/2017/PMC
    Opened on 14 Jun 2017 - Decision on 14 Jun 2017
  • Institution(s) concerned: European Commission

The complainant sent hyperlinks to two videos available online to the European Commission, arguing that they proved that a beneficiary of EU funds was involved in illegal child adoption. The Commission informed the complainant that if he wished to pursue the matter, he could consider turning to the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF). The complainant then turned to the Ombudsman, expressing the concern that the European Commission suggested he contact OLAF instead of investigating the alleged misuse of EU funds and reporting it to OLAF itself.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue. She found that, in principle, a failure to notify OLAF of information suggesting possibleserious wrongdoing affecting the financial interests of the Union to OLAF, could constitute maladministration. However, the Ombudsman recognised that there are instances in which the duty to transmit certain information - even if it concerns a topic as important as the alleged misuse of EU funds - to the appropriate service may not always apply. For example, this could be the case where a person simply raises a certain keyword or issue for follow-up, without at the same time providing more concrete information underpinning his or her concern. Moreover, the suggestion made by the Commission to the complainant to contact OLAF directly did not prevent the complainant from pursuing the matter further with OLAF.

Therefore, the Ombudsman closed the case with a finding of no maladministration.