Eurojust has established and maintains cooperative relations with the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), with a view to enhancing the fight against fraud. OLAF and Eurojust have a different nature of tasks, but a close cooperation between the two bodies is essential as they both play a role in protecting the financial interests of the European Union by tackling fraud, corruption or any other criminal offence or illegal activities.
To this end, Eurojust and OLAF have concluded a cooperation agreement in 2008 and cooperate during cross-border criminal investigations related to fraud or other PIF crimes; for example, through the exchange of operational information, participation in operational meetings, the provision of mutual assistance and advice, and participation in joint investigation teams.
Specifically, the OLAF-Eurojust cooperation brings added value to cross-border cases supported by Eurojust through:
- specialist knowledge with cases involving crimes against the financial interests of the European Union;
- expertise provided by OLAF to judicial authorities;
- evidence from OLAF administrative investigations for use within criminal cases; and
- OLAF’s participation in joint investigation teams (JITs).
In return, Eurojust supports the work of OLAF by:
- improving coordination and information flow between national prosecution and judicial authorities;
- enhancing cooperation concerning the execution of international mutual legal assistance and mutual recognition instruments;
- establishing contact with national authorities in other Member States or third States involved in a case;
- organising coordination meetings and coordination centres to bring national authorities and OLAF together and to facilitate the possibilities for OLAF to share information and provide operational and analytical support to cross-border criminal cases;
- identifying the relevant judicial authority competent to deal with a criminal investigation linked to an OLAF case;
- assisting national authorities in possible judicial follow-up to OLAF recommendations; and
- supporting the setting up and financing of JITs.
To facilitate their cooperation, quarterly meetings are organised between dedicated teams of Eurojust and OLAF, and a regular exchange of case referrals, case summaries and case-related information, as well as a follow-up on the progress made and the activities performed in the exchanged cases takes place. Further, study visits in the framework of the Eurojust-OLAF Exchange Programme are regularly organised and the President of Eurojust meets bi-annually with the Director General of OLAF to evaluate and reinforce collaboration.
Eurojust and OLAF are working together towards an increased exchange of information on complex cases to address the need for coordination of investigations and prosecutions. A recently established common system of secure communication facilitates the flow of information between the parties.