19th Aug 2022

OLAF supervisory committee to discuss Tillack case

The EU’s anti-fraud office’s supervisory committee has begun looking into whether the body overstepped the mark in an investigative case concerning German journalist Hans-Martin Tillack.

German member of the committee Harald Noack told the EUobserver that the matter is "serious" and "very delicate".

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  • Hans-Martin Tillack - had his home and office in Brussels searched by Belgian police (Photo: EUobserver)

The committee, whose function is to reinforce the independence of OLAF by looking at how it carries out its investigations, will enter the first of a two-day meeting on the issue today (20 April).

According to Mr Noack, the committee was not informed that OLAF had handed over a file on Mr Tillack to the Belgian police which eventually led to Mr Tillack being taken into custody and questioned for a day last month.

"Maybe we got information in a heavily coded version," he said.

Questioned about whether there was strong evidence against the Stern magazine journalist, Mr Noack indicated that if there had been, he would not have reacted so strongly in an interview with Der Spiegel last month.

He told Der Spiegel that the dismissal of OLAF director Franz-Hermann Brüner was "not out of the question".

According to the spokesperson of OLAF, during a meeting on 20-21 January 2004, Mr Perduca, Director of Investigations & Operations of OLAF, personally updated the Supervisory Committee on an ongoing case which involved working with the judicial authorities on a confidential basis.

While these internal machinations go on, Mr Tillack is working to get his confiscated material back from the Belgian police.

Police raided his offices on the suspicion of the journalist being involved in bribing an EU official. These allegations concern the sum of 8000 – though it is not yet clear whether it is German marks or euro.

Mr Tillack is due to see the Belgian police again on Wednesday (22 April).

The International Federation of Journalists in Brussels has invited journalists based in the Belgian capital to demonstrate near the police station against the treatment of Mr Tillack and the lack of protection of journalist sources in Belgium.

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