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OLAF’s respect of fundamental rights and legality, Supervisory Committee Report of 2012, overriding public interest

Mr. Akis NASTAS made this access to documents request to European Anti-Fraud Office

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From: Mr. Akis NASTAS

Delivered

Dear European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF),

Under the right of access to documents in the EU treaties, as developed in Regulation 1049/2001, I am requesting documents which contain the following information:

The context of this application pursuant to Regulation No 1049/2001 is the Activity Report of the OLAF Supervisory Committee (‘SC’), January 2012 – January 2013 (‘Report’).

The individual requests for documents are preceded by extracts from the report, which will facilitate the precise identification of the documents for which access is hereby applied for. Only requests R1 and R5 concern documents not drawn up by OLAF, but by the SC and ‘complainants’ respectively.

I. EVALUATION GRID TO CHECK COMPLIANCE WITH FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS & PROCEDURAL GUARANTEES

Paragraph 28: ‘In May 2012 the SC proposed to OLAF a grid for the evaluation of the respect of fundamental rights and procedural guarantees prior to the transmission of cases to national judicial authorities’

Access to the following documents is applied for:

R1. The evaluation grid proposed by the SC.

R2. The documents drawn up in response to the proposed evaluation grid, including those drawn up by the OLAF Data Protection Officer.

II. CHALLENGE OF THE OLAF DG TO THE SC’s COMPETENCE TO ISSUE OPINIONS ON INDIVIDUAL CASES

Paragraph 32: ‘The power of the SC to issue formal opinions on individual cases was challenged by the OLAF DG. ’

Access to the following documents is applied for:

R3. The document(s) advancing arguments that the SC lacked competency under Regulation 1073/99 to issue opinions on individual investigations.

III. TIME-LIMITS OF OLAF’S INVESTIGATIONS

Paragraph 37 and footnote (30) respectively: ‘The SC noted in particular that essential information such as the time-barring consideration was often missing, also in the final reports’, ‘There was no reference to time-barring aspects in 89 out of 188’.

Access to the following documents is applied for:

R4. The document(s) drawn up from 2001 to 2013 with some kind of an analysis, or guidance to OLAF staff, or equivalent, concerning the time-limits under Community law (e.g., article 3 of Regulation 2188/95 ‘limitation period for proceedings’) barring OLAF’s investigative acts seeking the collection of incriminating evidence about facts and documents predating the time-limits.

IV. INTERNAL REVIEW OF COMPLAINTS

Paragraph 54. ‘In some cases, an internal review procedure was put in place in OLAF, at the request of the persons concerned. The SC noted that the internal review lead to the conclusion that OLAF acted within its competence and respected the fundamental rights and procedural guarantees of the persons concerned.’

Access to the following documents is applied for:

R5. The ‘complaints’ of natural and legal persons about OLAF’s investigations that lead to an internal review of the ‘complaint’.

R6. The OLAF report with the conclusions of the internal review that was forwarded to the complainants.

V. EXCEPTIONS OF ARTICLE 4 OF REGULATION 1049/2001 – OVERRIDING PUBLIC INTEREST

In my view and for requests R5 and R6, OLAF is to redact from the documents only what is strictly necessary to comply with article 4(1)(b) and articles 4(2) first and third indent. The references to the OLAF investigation (e.g., OF/2020/1234) are to be disclosed since they do not disclose anything specific to which article 4 affords protection.

Requests R1 to R4 concern directly matters at the junction of the respect of fundamental rights and (in external investigations) the intrusion of OLAF in the private business affairs of natural and legal persons. They are documents that have no bearing at all with any individual OLAF investigation, and therefore they do not fall under the ambit of article 4(2) third indent.

From the Report a very disturbing picture has emerged about OLAF’s systematic disrespect of fundamental rights in several ways.

Consequently, there is an overriding public interest to examine under close scrutiny OLAF’s respect of fundamental rights and legality. The granting to the full possible extent and in compliance with Union law of access to those documents will serve that object.

Yours faithfully,

Mr. Akis NASTAS

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European Anti-Fraud Office

Dear Mr Nastas,

We acknowledge receipt of your request dated 29 January 2014 registered in OLAF with registration number Ares(2014)202693 on the same day, in which you request "access to information request - OLAF’s respect of fundamental rights and legality, Supervisory Committee Report of 2012, overriding public interest".

You may expect to receive a reply from OLAF within 15 working days of the registration of your request.

Best regards,

European Commission
DG OLAF
Unit C.4- Legal advice

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European Anti-Fraud Office


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Attachment Annex.doc.pdf
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Dear Mr Nastas,

 

Please find herewith a letter signed by the Secretary of the Supervisory
Committee, Mr Kaduczak and an annex for your information.

 

 

Best regards,

 

 

 

 

  [1]cid:image001.png@01CE1437.0F722A20

European Commission

DG OLAF

Unit C.4- Legal advice

 

 

 

References

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European Anti-Fraud Office


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Dear Mr Nastas

 

We refer to your email dated 29 January 2014, in which you make a request
for access to OLAF documents  under Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the
European Parliament and of the Council regarding public access to European
Parliament, Council and Commission documents (hereinafter the Regulation).

 

I understand that the Supervisory Committee has responded to your first
request. OLAF is responsible for responding to your other requests.

 

You have requested access to

- the documents drawn up in response to the proposed evaluation grid,
including those drawn up by the OLAF Data Protection Officer.

- the document(s) advancing arguments that the Supervisory Committee
lacked competency under Regulation 1073/99 to issue opinions on individual
investigations (reference: paragraph 28 of the Supervisory Committee
Report from January 2013 to January 2013).

- the document(s) drawn up from 2001 to 2013 with some kind of an
analysis, or guidance to OLAF staff, or equivalent, concerning the
time-limits under Community law (e.g., article 3 of Regulation 2188/95
‘limitation period for proceedings’) barring OLAF’s investigative acts
seeking the collection of incriminating evidence about facts and documents
predating the time-limits(reference: paragraph 37 and footnote 30 of the
Supervisory Committee Report  from January 2013 to January 2013).

- the ‘complaints’ of natural and legal persons about OLAF’s
investigations that lead to an internal review of the ‘complaint’
(reference: paragraph 54 of the Supervisory Committee Report from January
2013 to January 2013).

- the OLAF report with the conclusions of the internal review that was
forwarded to the complainants (reference: paragraph 54 of the Supervisory
Committee Report from January 2013 to January 2013).

Your application will be dealt with as quickly as possible. However, 
your  application concerns documents held by different Services which must
be consulted. Therefore, in accordance with Article 7(3) of Regulation we
have to extend the prescribed period by another of 15 working days before
you receive a reply.

 

We apologise for this delay and for any inconvenience this may cause.  

 

Yours sincerely,               

 

 

 

 

  [1]cid:image001.png@01CE1437.0F722A20

European Commission

DG OLAF

Unit C.4- Legal advice

 

 

 

References

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European Anti-Fraud Office


Attachment Letter to Mr Nastas.pdf
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Dear Mr Nastas,

 

Please find herewith a letter from our Director, Mrs Sanz Redrado for your
information.

 

Best regards,

 

EUROPEAN COMMISSION
EUROPEAN ANTI-FRAUD OFFICE (OLAF)
Directorate  C: Investigation Support
Unit  C.4 – Legal Advice
Rue Joseph II, 30 • B-1000 Brussels (Belgium)

[1]http://ec.europa.eu/anti_fraud

Our policy regarding personal data protection can be viewed on
[2]http://ec.europa.eu/anti_fraud/about-us/...

 

 

References

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1. http://ec.europa.eu/anti_fraud
2. http://ec.europa.eu/anti_fraud/about-us/...

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