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European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF)

The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) investigates corruption and serious misconduct within European Union (EU) institutions, as well as fraud against the EU’s budget. It also helps develop the EU’s anti-fraud policy.


Commission Decision 1999/352/EC, ECSC, Euratom of 28 April 1999 establishing the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).



The original decision (1999/352/EC, ECSC, Euratom) created OLAF in 1999. It defined OLAF’s tasks, responsibilities, structure and mode of operation. A subsequent revision in 2013 enabled it to work more efficiently and effectively, particularly with outside organisations.


Fraud is a deliberate act of deception intended for personal gain or to cause a loss to another party. At EU level, this loss can result from a wrongful payment of funds from the EU budget or by failing to pass on revenue due to the EU budget, such as customs duties, agricultural duties and sugar levies.

OLAF launches investigations:

  • within the EU institutions and bodies to detect fraud, corruption, any other illegal activity affecting the EU’s financial interests and serious matters relating to the discharge of professional duties not affecting EU financial interests;
  • outside the EU institutions and bodies to detect fraud or other irregular conduct by people or organisations. These may involve EU countries’ authorities (and occasionally those of non-EU countries).

OLAF’s Director-General is appointed for 7 years (non-renewable).

OLAF’s Supervisory Committee monitors its work, seeks to reinforce its independence and monitors the application of procedural guarantees.

OLAF is subject to EU law on data protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by Community institutions and bodies.

OLAF is an administrative and investigative service. It can only recommend what action should be taken by EU or national authorities following its investigations.

The Hercule III programme helps fund many of the EU countries’ projects, helping them to fight criminal activity directed against the EU budget. Examples include the financing of the acquisition of scanners and other technical equipment in airports and ports, as well as of training activities.


From 28 April 1999.


Decision 1999/352/EC, ECSC, Euratom (and its subsequent amendments) relates to the establishment of OLAF. It is complemented by Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 883/2013, which defines OLAF’s role and remit, and an Interinstitutional Agreement, which specifically concerns investigations in the EU institutions.

For more information, see OLAF’s website.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Commission Decision 1999/352/EC, ECSC, Euratom



OJ L 136 of 31.5.1999, pp. 20-22

Amending acts

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Commission Decision 2013/478/EU



OJ L 257 of 28.9.2013, pp. 19-20

Commission Decision (EU) 2015/512



OJ L 81 of 26.3.2015, p. 4-4


Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 883/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 September 2013 concerning investigations conducted by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1073/1999 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Council Regulation (Euratom) No 1074/1999 (OJ L 248 of 18.9.2013, pp. 1-22).

Interinstitutional Agreement of 25 May 1999 between the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the Commission of the European Communities concerning internal investigations by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) (OJ L 136 of 31.5.1999, pp. 15-19).

last update 23.04.2015