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EU anti-fraud investigations help recover millions in 2012


20:27, May 23, 2013

BRUSSELS, May 23 (Xinhua) -- The European anti-fraud office OLAF closed a total of 465 cases in the year 2012 that resulted in recommendations to recover 284 million euros (366 million dollars), according to its latest annual report published here on Thursday.

"In 2012, OLAF kept up the high pace in fighting fraud and maintained the policy of zero tolerance towards corruption... Swift and decisive actions are crucial in recovering misused EU money and in bringing perpetrators to justice," said OLAF director-general Giovanni Kessler.

During the year, particular attention was paid to the EU's structural and cohesion funds and the smuggling of cigarettes and alcohol along the EU's eastern border. The number of investigation and coordination cases increased from 64 in 2011 to 186 in 2012 in the structural funds area, according to Kessler.

The office had a budget of over 57 million euros and more than 430 staff in 2012. It went through a major internal reorganization in February last year to improve efficiency and effectiveness in its investigations and anti-fraud policies.

Among those cases, a joint investigation carried out by Italian authorities and the anti-fraud office led to the discovery of an illegal mint near Rome, where three people were arrested for producing fake euro coins and a large number of counterfeit coins as well as equipment and materials were seized on site.

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