Wednesday

25th May 2022

Exclusive

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).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • 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.

MEPs seek parliament inquiry into Frontex

Some MEPs now want a formal inquiry into Frontex, plus member states, and the European Commission over allegations of illegal pushbacks. Dutch MEP Tineke Strik says she has so far received backing from the Greens, liberals and far-left GUE.

Frontex takes transparency activists to EU court

The EU border agency Frontex's annual budget for 2020 is €460m. Now they are launching court proceedings against two pro-transparency campaigners for not paying them €24,000 in legal fees after losing a case last year.

Romania denies forcing migrant-boat back to Turkish waters

Romania's ministry of internal affairs wrote to Frontex claiming it did not engage in any illegal pushbacks of people on rubber boats into Turkish territorial waters. The country says it followed EU engagement rules and Greek orders.

Frontex chief: 'about time' MEPs probe his agency

Some 14 MEPs have created a group to probe allegations of rights abuse by the EU's border agency Frontex. Its head, Fabrice Leggeri, welcomed its creation and said it "is about time".

News in Brief

  1. France 'convinced' Ukraine will join EU
  2. Von der Leyen: Russia hoarding food as 'blackmail'
  3. Legal action launched against KLM over 'greenwashing'
  4. Orbán refuses to discuss Russia oil embargo at EU summit
  5. Turkey's Erdogan snubs Greek PM
  6. ECB: Crypto may pose a risk to financial stability
  7. UK PM Johnson faces renewed questions over Covid party
  8. Sweden gives 5th Covid shot to people over 65, pregnant women

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. Orbán oil veto to deface EU summit on Ukraine
  2. France aims for EU minimum-tax deal in June
  3. 'No progress in years' in Libya, says UN migration body
  4. Toxic pesticide residue in EU fruit up 53% in a decade
  5. Orbán's overtures to Moscow are distasteful and detrimental
  6. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth is back
  7. EU aims to seize Russian assets amid legal unclarity
  8. Close ties with autocrats means security risk, Nato chief warns

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us