Home Featured €1.8B worth of fraud in EU in 2022, watchdog says
€1.8B worth of fraud in EU in 2022, watchdog says

€1.8B worth of fraud in EU in 2022, watchdog says

by host

BRUSSELS — The EU’s anti-fraud watchdog found irregularities worth €1.77 billion in 2022 as the number of cases it investigated increased, it said in a report published Thursday.

OLAF, which monitors the abuse of EU funds, said there were 12,455 cases reported by authorities last year, a 7 percent increase from 2021.

The majority of these, 11,316 ― an all-time high — were not criminal but concerned irregularities such as poor management, sloppy record-keeping or insufficient financial controls. It represented an 8 percent increase on the previous year.

The remaining 1,139 cases — a 2 percent increase year-on-year — concerned various types of fraud including collusion, manipulation of procurement procedures, conflicts of interest, inflated invoices, evasion of customs duties, smuggling and counterfeiting.

While the number of cases has gone up, the amount of money concerned represents a 13 percent drop from 2021, which is down to “a limited number of individual cases with high financial impact,” the report said.

Over the course of last year, OLAF closed 256 cases, concerning €625 million of EU funds either recovered or prevented from being misspent. It also started 192 investigations.

EPPO, the European Public Prosecutor Office, in charge of prosecuting crimes against the financial interests of the EU, launched 865 investigations relating to estimated damages of €9.9 billion.

“Today’s report shows that in 2022, in a context of an increasing numbers of transactions, the EU and its member states continued to step up their efforts to protect EU taxpayers’ money,” EU Budget Commissioner Johannes Hahn said.

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