OLAF To Investigate EU Subsidy Fraud Uncovered By Slain JournalistČTK
Brussels, April 20 (CTK correspondent) – The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) has launched investigation into a suspected misuse of EU agricultural funds in Slovakia, reacting to the articles of murdered Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak, OLAF told CTK today, confirming Politico.eu server’s information.
EC spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud would not comment on the issue, citing the OLAF investigation that is underway.
Bertaud only said the EC has zero tolerance towards EU funds’ misuse.
The OLAF started preliminary proceedings at the end of March. In the past weeks, it assessed available information and accusations in order to find out whether conditions for launching an investigation were met.
Kuciak, who wrote about discrepancies accompanying the drawing of EU agricultural subsidies by Slovak recipients, was shot dead together with his fiancee in their home in west Slovakia in late February.
Kuciak dealt with issues such as the activities of Italian mafia in eastern Slovakia and its links to top Slovak politicians. His assassination triggered a political crisis that toppled Robert Fico (Smer-Social Democracy) as prime minister.
Slovak authorities, too, have admitted that the local drawing of agricultural subsidies has not always been in accordance with law.
On Thursday, the EP in Strasbourg passed a resolution condemning the murder of Kuciak and his partner and calling on Slovakia to do its utmost to secure an independent investigation of the tragedy, also with Europol’s assistance.
Furthermore, the MEPs called on the EC to prepare legislation aimed to protect journalists in Europe.