Home » News » The Office of the Prosecutor General and OLAF have signed an administrative cooperation arrangement

The excel­lent coope­ra­ti­on bet­ween the Euro­pe­an Anti-Fraud Offi­ce (OLAF) and the Pro­se­cu­ti­on Ser­vi­ce of Hun­gary has been for­ma­li­sed in an admi­nistra­tive coope­ra­ti­on arrange­ment. The fra­me­work for the work car­ried out until now on the basis of com­mon inte­rests and objec­ti­ves is now for­mally ensured by the admi­nistra­tive coope­ra­ti­on arrange­ment.

As a prel­u­de to the arrange­ment, on 31 Janu­ary 2020, Dr. Péter Polt rece­i­ved OLAF Direc­tor Gene­ral Ville Itälä at the Offi­ce of the Pro­se­cu­tor Gene­ral. During the mee­ting, the par­ti­es con­fir­med that effec­tive infor­ma­ti­on exc­han­ge and coope­ra­ti­on bet­ween the orga­ni­sa­tions on cri­mi­nal misu­se of EU funds rema­ins a pri­o­rity. They also agreed to deve­lop an admi­nistra­tive coope­ra­ti­on arrange­ment, which has now been fina­li­sed, to for­mally strengt­hen the alre­ady well-established pro­fes­si­o­nal rela­ti­onship.

The comp­le­ted coope­ra­ti­on arrange­ment was sign­ed by Director-General, Mr Ville Itälä on behalf of OLAF and by Pro­se­cu­tor Gene­ral, Dr Péter Polt, on behalf of the Offi­ce of the Pro­se­cu­tor Gene­ral.

Coope­ra­ti­on acti­vi­ti­es bet­ween OLAF and the Offi­ce of the Pro­se­cu­tor Gene­ral will inc­lu­de, in par­ti­cu­lar, mutu­al exc­han­ge of infor­ma­ti­on and ope­ra­ti­o­nal assis­tance. The arrange­ment also allows for more joint train­ing oppor­tuni­ti­es and tech­ni­cal assis­tance.

The coope­ra­ti­on with OLAF helps the Offi­ce of the Pro­se­cu­tor Gene­ral to ful­fil its wor­king arrange­ment with the Euro­pe­an Pub­lic Prosecutor's Offi­ce. Hun­gary is not a mem­ber of the Euro­pe­an Pub­lic Prosecutor's Offi­ce, but in April 2021, the Pro­se­cu­ti­on Ser­vi­ce of Hun­gary – as the first and only one among the non-participating count­ri­es – conc­lu­ded a wor­king arrange­ment with the EPPO for the pur­po­se of joint ope­ra­ti­on.

OLAF car­ri­es out investiga­tions into admi­nistra­tive irre­gu­la­ri­ti­es aga­inst EU funds, but it does not deter­mi­ne if a cri­mi­nal offen­ce has been com­mit­ted or not, nor does it prove any cri­mi­nal offen­ces with evi­den­ce. OLAF has neit­her aut­hori­za­ti­on nor any tools to do so.

Alt­ho­ugh no such legal obli­ga­ti­on exists, the Pro­se­cu­ti­on Ser­vi­ce of Hun­gary – in accor­dance with the set pro­to­col – has issu­ed an order on the ope­ning of a cri­mi­nal pro­ce­du­re in each case based on OLAF recom­men­da­tions, and where an investiga­ti­on was alre­ady ongo­ing, OLAF's recom­men­da­tions were atta­ched to the investiga­ti­on files and were asses­sed as a part the­reof.

The Annu­al Report of OLAF for 2020 cle­arly shows that the Pro­se­cu­ti­on Ser­vi­ce of Hun­gary filed indict­ments in 67% of OLAF-cases. This figu­re is sig­ni­fi­cantly hig­her than the EU aver­age of 37%.

OLAF is more and more often mak­ing judi­ci­al recom­men­da­tions in cases that are alre­ady under investiga­ti­on in Hun­gary. Each recom­men­da­ti­on from the last two years has alre­ady been under investiga­ti­on.

The num­ber of judi­ci­al recom­men­da­tions has been stea­di­ly dec­re­a­sing over the years. In 2016 ten, in 2017 six, in 2018 four, in 2019 three, whe­re­as in 2020 and 2021 two recom­men­da­tions each year were rece­i­ved from OLAF.

The Pro­se­cu­ti­on Ser­vi­ce of Hun­gary and OLAF work clos­ely toget­her by regu­lar mee­tings at both mana­ge­ri­al and expert levels.

The pic­tu­re was taken during the mee­ting bet­ween OLAF Director-General Ville Itälä and Pro­se­cu­tor Gene­ral Péter Polt in Janu­ary, 2020.