EU Anti-Fraud Body To Pay For Botched Probe

     BRUSSELS (CN) – Europe’s anti-fraud body violated the rights of two former officials in the European Union’s statistics agency by disclosing their names and financial files during an investigation into possible financial mismanagement, a European court ruled.

     The Court of First Instance awarded former Eurostat director-general Yves Franchet and former director Daniel Byk a total of 56,000 euros, or $88,000, in damages, saying they suffered “serious damage to their honor and professional reputation.”
     The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) should have notified Franchet and Byk before it handed over their financial information to judicial authorities in Luxembourg and France in 2002 and 2003, the court ruled.
     When OLAF leaked their names to the press, referring to them publicly as guilty of criminal conduct, the office violated their presumption of innocence and right to confidentiality during the investigation, the court ruled.
     Franchet and Byk had demanded 1 million euros, or $1.57 million.

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