PositionStatistical Data Included

In his foreword to the report, Franz-Hermann Bruener indicates that "the first Report, from May 2000, was more a stock-taking of the inheritance from UCLAF", adding that "during 2001 it emerged that this inheritance was harder to deal with than had previously been expected". He acknowledges that "the adaptation to the new requirements of OLAF was particularly problematic with internal investigations", noting that "the mistrust of the officials of the institutions comes from the experiences linked to the resignation of the last Commission. It is to be hoped that this mistrust can be overcome and the importance of the investigations of OLAF be better understood". Mr Bruener proposes to participate actively in the debate opened by the Green Paper on a European Public Prosecutor, presented by the Commission in December (see European Report 2644 for further details). OLAF's Director-General regrets that "today everybody will be called upon to think and act globally, but investigation bodies are unfortunately excluded from this to a large degree".General statistics.The annual report highlights an increase in the absolute number of cases from 1,832 to 2,343, an increase of 28%. However, this figure reflects contrasting trends. OLAF reports an increase in the number of internal enquiries (absolute increase from 51 to 88 cases, representing growth from 3 to 4% of all cases) and of enquiries linked to direct expenditure (absolute increase from 304 to 470 cases, or from 17% to 20% of all cases). Concurrently, OLAF reports a decline as a proportion of all cases of customs/trade investigations as a proportion of all cases (absolute increase from 903 to 1,065 cases but an overall fall from 49% to 45% of all cases) and of cigarette-related inquiries (absolute increase from 85 to 102 cases, but an overall decline from 5 to 4% of all cases).For the European citizen, a "freephone" system is in place that can be used by anybody in the Member States to contact free of charge the Office to provide information about fraud and irregularities that might be of interest for the protection of the financial interests of the Community. During the period from January 1, 2000 until August 31, 2001, in all 3,867 calls were received by the Office freephone system. Of these total number of calls, no fewer than 1,118 were considered to be of potential relevance and have undergone a first assessment by OLAF officials. These triggered a more detailed assessment in 47 instances...

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