OLAF reports FRA and Environment Agency

La respuesta a esta solicitud está muy retrasada. Oficina Europea de Lucha contra el Fraude ya debería haber respondido (detalles). Puedes apelar pidiendo una revisión interna.

Dear Fundamental Rights Agency,

Under the right of access to documents in the EU treaties, as developed in Regulation 1049/2001, I am requesting access to the following OLAF reports following investigations into:

- Fundamental Rights Agency, Vienna, 2012: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/document/a...

- European Environment Agency, Denmark, 2011: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/document/a...

Please send these to me in electronic format if possible.

Many thanks.
Yours faithfully,

Access Info Europe

Dear European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF),

This email is just to clarify that the request titled OLAF reports FRA and Environment Agency (http://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/olaf_...) was in fact directed at OLAF, not at the Fundamental Rights Agency.

Please let us know if you need Access Info Europe to re-submit the request.

Many thanks.

Yours faithfully,

Access Info Europe

Oficina Europea de Lucha contra el Fraude

Dear Access Info Europe,

Your request for access to documents has been registered. This message is an acknowledgement of receipt.
In accordance with Regulation 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents, you will receive a reply within 15 working days (07/08/2013).

Yours faithfully,

Martin Wasmeier

European Commission
DG OLAF
Unit C.4- Legal advice

mostrar partes citadas

1 Adjuntos

[Subject only] Fwd: Your request for access to document of 16 July 2013

mostrar partes citadas

Dear Mr. Martin Wasmeier,

Thank you very much for your message, which arrived to the generic Access
Info inbox. We have now uploaded your response onto [1]www.AsktheEU.org as
the request was made via the platform and using the unique email address
[2][FOI #684 email]. We kindly ask you to use this
email address for sending the next response connected to this request in
order to facilitate tracking.

We confirm that we are seeking to access the two documents mentioned in
your letter, as well as any background documents connected to both
investigations. This could be emails between the various EU officials
investigating the case, emails between EU officials and third parties, and
any other supporting evidence or documentation, including transcripts of
interviews.

I hope that this request is now sufficiently precise but please do not
hesitate to contact us again.

Thank you.
Yours Sincerely,

Pam Bartlett Quintanilla, on behalf of Mr Bezares Susín, President of
Access Info Europe

--
Pamela Bartlett Quintanilla
Researcher and Campaigner
Access Info Europe | [3]www.AsktheEU.org
Madrid, Spain
+34 91 365 6558
+34 699 354 215

On 31/07/13 12:35, [4][email address] wrote:

Dear Mr Bezares Susín,

 

Please find herewith a note from our head of unit Mr Wasmeier for your
information.

 

Best regards,

 

 

European Commission

DG OLAF

Unit C.4- Legal advice

 

 

 

 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.asktheeu.org/
2. mailto:[FOI #684 email]
3. http://www.asktheeu.org/
4. mailto:[email address]

Dear European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF),

I am writing because the deadline for you to respond to my request is now well overdue.

I would appreciate it if you could respond in a timely manner.

Many thanks.

Yours faithfully,

Access Info Europe

Oficina Europea de Lucha contra el Fraude

Dear Access Info Europe,

Thank you for your e-mail.

We are confident that we have already replied to your request, but in order to be sure that we are talking about the same case, could you please resend your original request to us?

As soon as we identified your request (on which the answer might have been sent to another e-mail address of your organization) we are going to resend our note to the e-mail you choose to be sent to.

We are sorry for any inconvenience caused.

Best regards,

  
European Commission
DG OLAF
Unit C.4- Legal advice

mostrar partes citadas

Dear European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF),

You can find a copy of my original request and of the correspondence we have had to date at the following website address: http://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/olaf_...

You will see there that the last response I received from OLAF was dated 1 August 2013 - you asked for additional clarification of the request, and I responded on the same day.

I look forward to receiving your response, via this email address.

Many thanks in advance.

Yours faithfully,

Access Info Europe

Oficina Europea de Lucha contra el Fraude

Dear Access Info Europe,

Thank you for your e-mail and the clarification.

We apologise for the delay in answering the follow up of your original request.
Unfortunately in the middle of the summer, when we were very short on staff an administrative mistake has happened and your e-mail of 1st of August has not been registered. It is registered now and we are going to deal with your issue as soon as possible.

Thank you for your understanding.

We are sorry for any inconvenience caused.

Best regards,

  
European Commission
DG OLAF
Unit C.4- Legal advice

mostrar partes citadas

Oficina Europea de Lucha contra el Fraude

1 Adjuntos

Dear Mr Bezares Susin,

 

We are continuing to treat your request and we will be able to reply on
the merit within 15 working days.

 

We are sorry for any inconvenience caused by this postponement.

 

 

Best regards,

 

  

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

European Commission

DG OLAF

Unit C.4- Legal advice

 

References

Visible links

Oficina Europea de Lucha contra el Fraude

1 Adjuntos

 

Dear Mr Daniel BEZARES SUSÍN,

 

OLAF is finalising its reply to your request for access to the documents
of OLAF's investigations concerning the European Environment Agency and
the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights.

 

Therefore our answer will be sent to you by 18 December 2013.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

               

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

European Commission

DG OLAF

Unit C.4- Legal advice

 

 

 

 

References

Visible links

Oficina Europea de Lucha contra el Fraude

2 Adjuntos

Dear Mr Bezares Susín,

 

Please find herewith a note from our director Ms Petra Kneuer for your
information.

The original follows by regular mail.

 

Best regards,

 

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

European Commission

DG OLAF

Unit C.4- Legal advice

 

 

 

 

References

Visible links

Mr. Tasos Ntetsikas dejó un comentario ()

Dear Sir,

I would like to provide some remarks about OLAF's response. You may find them useful in the event of submitting a confirmatory application.

For the sake of clarity, I will follow the structure of OLAF's response.

I. General presumptions, section 3 of OLAF's response

OLAF is attempting to transpose the case-law that concerns DG COMP investigations to its own investigations and its own obligations under Regulation 1049/2001.

However, the situation between DG COMP investigations and OLAF is very different.

As a preliminary observation, my research shows that except of the Francait & Byk case (footnote 4 of OLAF's response), the General Court has not ruled for applications about OLAF final case reports. OLAF's argument about access to file of persons concerned is largely irrelevant to the instant application because access to file is much wider than access to a final case report. A DG COMP file may contain 1,500 documents.

The case law OLAF has cited concerns applications to obtain access to the case file of a DG COMP investigation, and not just to the "DG COMP final 'investigation' report" that is the subject of the instant application. Moreover, DG COMP had published a non-confidential version of the statement of objections (the equivalent of the DG COMP report above about a DG COMP investigation), meaning that the public had been informed about the substance of the DG COMP investigations and the main outcomes.

The litigants in the DG COMP investigations were often parties which had an interest in obtaining documents of the DG COMP file (not just the 'report') to bring before national Courts claims for damages against the undertakings whose conduct was deemed anti-competitive; this is a private interest of the applicants-litigants.

In addition, addresses of the DG COMP statement of objections, and in some cases other interested third parties, have specific rights of access to the file. The DG COMP leniency programme also affords special protection to the documents a party submits pursuant to that programme.

One must not loose sight of the fundamental aspect that the case-law OLAF has cited is about documents of external investigations, where the rights of third parties are at stake. The two documents at issue concern internal investigations about established misconduct of high-ranking officials, which is public information.

From the resolution of the Budget Committee on EEA (2012/2187 DEC), it appears that the matter is primarily concerned with alleged inappropriate conduct by the Agency's executive Director and unjustified travel expenditure. From the resolution about FRA (2012/2185), paragraphs 5 - 9, it is evident that the OLAF investigation on FRA is about the conduct of FRA in the face of staff allegations for some sort of 'harassment' by superiors.

It is evident that the OLAF reports about EEA & FRA are about the inappropriate conduct of high-ranking officials in two Agencies. In other words, the reports are about internal matters of two Agencies, which are financed by the taxpayers and are supposed to follow the most rigorous code of professional ethics. Any inappropriate conduct by high-ranking officials is a matter of public interest. Moreover, there can be no argument that misconduct that is lawfully public information is protected by Regulation 45/2001 or article 4(1)(b) of Regulation 1049/2001.

In view of the above considerations, the OLAF internal investigations of EEA and FRA are miles apart from the DG COMP internal investigations. Whereas documents about both OLAF and DG COMP investigations are subject to article 4(3) third indent of Regulation 1049/2001, OLAF cannot claim that the DG COMP case law allows it to invoke the general presumption established for DG COMP investigations.

In sum, the essence of OLAF's argument about the presumption of confidentiality is based on the erroneous premise that the DG COMP case law applies to OLAF.

II. Considerations about the two OLAF reports

OLAF is right to say that the reputation of officials is protected by article 4(1)(b) of Regulation 45/2001. To what extent this protection applies to the EEA report, especially since the the Parliament stated a conflict of interest is something for OLAF to justify.

A similar consideration applies to the FRA issue, since physiological harassment took place.

OLAF's blanket refusal does not seem to be justified in the light of the information in the public domain (disclosed by Institutions).

It is also worth recalling that OLAF partially released via asktheeu.org the OF/2007/0488 final case report about the Agency that preceded FRA, meaning that OLAF must explain why it did not adopt a similar approach to the OF/2012/391 and OF/2011/753 reports.

III. Overriding public interest

Misconduct by high-ranking officials cannot be tolerated. The taxpayers are entitled to scrutinise the unethical conduct of such officials, as well as the particular organisational context in the two Agencies that did not prevent, or sought to prevent, the high-ranking officials from such a misconduct.

Whereas OLAF is to ensure that information compromising the integrity of an official is not unlawfully disclosed, nevertheless OLAF cannot refuse partial release of the two final case reports in order to ostensibly protect the reputation of officials who have admitted in public their unethical behaviour, including a conflict of interest.

One suspects that what really OLAF wants to protect is disclosures of the weakness of the internal management and control mechanisms of the two Agencies, and how high-ranking officials were able to overcome the reluctance of their subordinates and cause (or even compelled) them to act in violation of the spirit of the Staff Regulations. In other words, the purpose of OLAF's total refusal is to prevent the public from seeing the dirty linen of the two Agencies as regards the matters investigated in these two reports.