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European Public Prosecutor’s Office

From the Legislative Financial Statement (1.5.2) for the likely soon to be operational EPPO:

“The added value of establishing a European Public Prosecutor’s Office is mainly to be found in the increased number of prosecutions of crimes affecting the Union’s financial interests.”

Apparently, EU leadership lacks tolerance for the performance of the member states’ record of successful prosecutions from 2006 – 2011 (based on referrals from the European Anti Fraud Office – OLAF): 1,030 referrals and 199 convictions. See p. 18. Presumably, crimes against the EU budget will receive greater attention and a much higher rate of conviction, notwithstanding the use of the term “prosecutions” where “convictions” would more likely reflect the actual goals.

There have been exceptions to the member states apparent history of lackadaisical performance. Notably,

For the alleged crime of exaggerating the deficit in favour of the creditors” a statistician from Greece was recently ordered by Greece’s supreme court to stand trial, with a prison term of up to 10 years facing him.

The call for the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth, and compliance with respect to the budget and the protection of financial interests is wonderful news for those in the profession of inspection and oversight of public funds. The stakes are higher. Auditors and investigators will be looking carefully; prosecutors will be able and willing to make a special priority of failing to treat revenues, expenditures, and assets as funds belonging to the Union and not the administering individual / official.

Now is the time to become adept in financial transactions and public sector budgets, as well as learn how to detect concealment of their true purposes. While many see the incarceration of Al Capone for income tax evasion as the result of peculiar justice in light of other crimes allegedly committed under his orders (e.g., murder), I respectfully hold otherwise: Financial crimes are not the accident; they are the reason. Most everything else is just support.