Monday

19th Feb 2018

Departure of EU's under-fire fraud chief was 'neutral'

  • Olaf's director-general is leaving his post for a new job next week. (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

The head of EU's anti-fraud office Olaf, Giovanni Kessler, would have been moved to an advisor role with no executive responsibilities at the European Commission, had he decided not to leave for a new job in Rome.

EU budget commissioner Guenther Oettinger told MEPs on Wednesday (11 October) that Kessler next March would have automatically been given a position as a so-called "hors-classe advisor" at the EU commission with a top pay grade had he not been hired in Rome to oversee Italy's customs and monopoly agency.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"He would probably have become a hors-classe advisor, with full expenses on our payroll," he said.

Oettinger's comments follows moves by the EU commission to release Kessler from his current post as Olaf's director-general, whose term in the job was already coming to an end. Kessler had been appointed to the seven-year non renewable Olaf position in early 2011.

But Kessler had also earlier last year threatened to sue the EU commission, after it lifted his immunity following demands by the Belgian public prosecutor given broader allegations he had illegally eavesdropped on telephone calls.

Those calls were during a 2012 investigation that led Malta's John Dalli, who was at the time EU health commissioner, to step down in a scandal also known as Dalligate.

With his immunity lifted, Kessler took his case against the European Commission to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. The court has yet to make any decision.

Despite the internal turmoil, Oettinger maintains that the EU commission's decision to release Kessler to Rome was "completely neutral".

"On the 16th or 17th of October, he will take up his post there in Rome. So we were completely neutral. There was no activity by the Commission," he said.

Nicholas Ilett will be Olaf's acting director-general as of 16 October and until someone else is appointed on a more permanent basis.

EUobserved

Juncker too tight in his EU suit

The European Commission president floated ideas on what his institution could look like. But faced with the member state powers, he failed to lay out a structured vision.

Far-right parties re-register to access EU funds

After missing a funding deadline, the far-right nationalist Alliance for Peace and Freedom and the Alliance of European National Movements are back in the game and possibly eligible for EU money in 2019.

Commission tells Macron to pick political side

A European Commission paper calls on parties to show their colours before the May 2019 parliament elections, and to choose their successor to Juncker before the end of 2018.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel: Nord Stream 2 pipeline poses 'no danger'
  2. Spanish king in Barcelona next week
  3. Turkey jails journalists for life
  4. Make budget cuts in farm and regional funds, the Dutch say
  5. UN: Hungary's anti-migration bill is 'assault on human rights'
  6. Journalist Deniz Yucel freed in Turkey
  7. New organic farming bill not ready until late spring
  8. Commissioner: Western Balkans in EU is 'obvious'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAA year ago UNESDA members pledged to reduce added sugars in soft drinks by 10%
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  3. EPSUMovie Premiere: 'Up to The Last Drop' - 22 February, Brussels
  4. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  5. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  7. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  8. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name
  9. Dialogue PlatformBeyond the Errors in the War on Terror: How to Fight Global Militarism - 22 February
  10. Swedish EnterprisesHarnessing Globalization- at What Cost? Keynote Speaker Commissioner Malmström
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaSave The Date 28/02: “Nagorno-Karabakh & the EU: 1988-2018”
  12. European Heart NetworkSmart CAP is Triple Win for Economy, Environment and Health

Latest News

  1. EU asks charities to explain anti-abuse measures
  2. ECB, Budget, EU elections This WEEK
  3. EU states stay mute on implementation of mercury bill
  4. Baltic states demand bigger EU budget
  5. Germany raises concerns over Hungary's 'Stop Soros' bills
  6. EU ties Brexit transition talks to divorce agreement
  7. EU divided over Western Balkan enlargement
  8. Facebook and Twitter weak on protecting users, says EU