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27th Jan 2021

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EU anti-fraud office launches probe into Frontex

The EU anti-fraud office Olaf has launched an investigation into the EU's border agency, Frontex.

"Olaf can confirm that it has opened an investigation concerning Frontex," Olaf's press office said in an email, on Monday (11 January).

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  • Fabrice Leggeri is the head of EU's border and coast guard agency, Frontex (Photo: Frontex)

Olaf would not provide any further details.

EUobserver was tipped off to the investigation from an anonymous source, who alleged Olaf had raided the offices of Frontex director Fabrice Leggeri and his chief of cabinet in early December, given alleged misconduct.

EUobserver could not verify if Leggeri is indeed the target of the probe or whether his office was raided.

But a spokesperson from the Warsaw-based agency did not deny the details when asked for a comment.

"In keeping with its policy of transparency, Frontex is cooperating fully with Olaf," said a Frontex spokesperson.

He said Olaf visits to EU agencies in general are "normal practices of good governance" and that they do not imply any malpractice.

"They may also be triggered by the management of European bodies themselves," he said, noting that the agency cannot disclose any details of the investigation.

The probe comes amid increasing Frontex scrutiny, following numerous media reports last year implicating the agency in the push backs of migrants.

The allegations has sparked calls among MEPs to launch an inquiry into the Frontex chief.

Others, including the socialist grouping in the European Parliament, are demanding his resignation.

Those calls followed Leggeri's denial of any wrongdoing in a European Parliament grilling held last December.

The allegations of wrongdoing were detailed in October by German magazine Der Spiegel, as well as broadcaster ARD along with the Bellingcat website and others.

Ylva Johansson, the EU commissioner for home affairs, has also been pressing for responses - as scrutiny of the allegations intensifies while internal inquiries continue.

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