MEP says Bahamas story ‘further evidence of OLAF’s amateur investigation’

MEP leading criticism of OLAF says ‘Bahamas story’ cannot deviate from the fact that OLAF’s shortcomings in Dalligate breached basic rights and national laws.

MEP Inge Graessle
MEP Inge Graessle

The European People's Party's rapporteur on anti-fraud agency OLAF, has questioned whether the EU agency was aware of former European Commissioner John Dalli's trip to the Bahamas during its investigation into an alleged €60 million bribe.

German MEP Inge Graessle, a major critic of OLAF and its director Giovanni Kesslerr, described a story by the International Herald Tribune alleging that Dalli flew to the Bahamas to arrange a $100 million transfer between 7-8 July and then on the 14 July, described the news today as a "another surprising turn in a story full of surprises and turns."

Graessle, who on Wednesday will put her report on OLAF's working to the vote of MEPs, said the 'Bahamas story' could not be used as a distraction from the fact that OLAF's "mistakes" in its investigation of Dalli made any legal follow-up impossible.

"The question is, when was the European Commission aware of this trip and its purpose? Were the tobacco-related allegations nothing but a pretext in order to keep a big story under wraps? Did OLAF, which apparently was unaware of this fact, allow itself to be used, and then botched everything with an amateurish investigation?"

Graessle said that the question as to how the investigation against Dalli failed to adhere to professional standards, amongst them breaching basic rights and national laws, still stood.

"This was particularly the case for the necessity to improve, by tabling amendments, the revised text of the OLAF regulation in order to secure the access of the Supervisory Committee to closed investigations, as well as to conduct a check of the legality of the methods used. It is imperative that the European Commission finally understands that this is about bringing more transparency into this case. This is only possible if it answers our questions on the Dalli case and its tobacco link, as well as the questions raised above," Graessle said.

now that we all know that the US was spying on eu officials why not ask Mr Barroso how he got this information surly the International Herald Tribune has good contacts with Mr. Barroso