Focus on Hungary: OLAF Would Recover 4% of EU Funds
Four percent of EU funds could be recovered in Hungary according to OLAF. In the majority of the member states the amount of repayment is just around one percent. This means Hungary leads the list of EU projects associated with corruption or wrongdoing.
According to the anti-fraud office Hungary should refund 3.92 percent of the received EU money. This is outstanding among EU countries, Slovakia has to make the second biggest compensation with their 2.08 percent, while among the remaining 26 members have to pay just around 1 percent.
However, the OLAF cannot make charges against the country’s business or institutions, but it has the right to raise their concerns to the European Commission, and fines might be impose by the Commission. Regularly the prosecution should be made on national level, after the OLAF’s warnings.
Eleven investigations were closed in Romania, followed by 10-10 in Hungary and Poland. In Romania 8, in Hungary and Poland 7 inquiries were completed with recommendations.
According to Euronews, Nicholas Ilett, OLAF’s Director General said:
“There is not a necessary correlation between the number of investigations we do and the level of fraud or corruption in the particular country. If we have a lot of investigation that might just indicate that we have a lot of cooperation. Or a lot of information at the moment about the particular country. So I wont draw general conclusions.”
In Hungary OLAF launched an investigation against Elios, the former company of Prime Minister Orban’s son in law, István Tiborcz.
Furthermore the anti-fraud investigators suspect Greece and Hungary may have become the main EU centers of a multi-million-euro scam involving imports of Chinese clothing and footwear that uses the infrastructure of China’s new “Silk Road”.
The OLAF has also found “irregularities” in subsidy payments allegedly obtained by Czech prime minister Andrej Babiš, according to extracts from a secret report in February. Babis is the first ever prime minister to fall under an OLAF probe. He denies any wrongdoing, and insists on his doubts about the independence of the European Anti Fraud Office.