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Europe

OLAF Hits Back at Critics over Handling of Stern Case

The EU anti-fraud office OLAF on Wednesday hit out at criticism that it treated a Brussels-based investigative journalist unfairly.

OLAF officials commented on a police enquiry into a German journalist from Stern magazine. The investigation came about due to information from OLAF and led to the journalist's arrest for several hours and the confiscation of his documents. Answering questions by MEPs from the Budgetary Control Committee on the affair, Peter Baader from the Investigations and Operations department in OLAF, said that the EU anti-fraud office has been "extremely cautious, professional and impartial when dealing with this issue. All people dealing with the investigation have not done any harm or injustice to anyone," he added. The investigation relates to suspicions that EU officials were paid to leak confidential OLAF documents which later appeared in articles by German journalist Hans-Martin Tillack, who has in recent years exposed various fraud and irregularities in EU institutions. The articles concerned alleged irregularities in the European institutions that had been raised by an EU official and whistleblower, Paul van Buitenen. The raid by the police was conducted after OLAF passed on information to the Belgian authorities. (EUobserver.com)

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