EUobserver.com, June 9, 2004.
OLAF, the EU’s anti fraud office, has signalled that new evidence could arise
over the alleged misuse by the Palestinian Authority of EU funds to fund
In a television programme by the Bayerische Rundfunk on Monday (7 June), the
General Director of OLAF Franz-Hermann BrÃ¼ner said that his employees had to
cope with a constant flow of new documents raising new questions.
“We would be happy if we could end (our investigations) by this
summer. But I am not optimistic, because again and again we are in the
situation where we receive new documents, and on the basis of these
documents new questions and obligations arise, which is why we cannot
estimate when this process will be finalised”.
Last April, on the basis of a majority report by the European Parliament, the
European Commission was quick to claim that evidence that funds were
misused had not been found, in spite of “intensive investigations”.
EU money on uncontrollable accounts
However, the row over the possible financing of terror attacks with EU money
by the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat seems far from over.
The Bayerische Rundfunk reported that 246 million euro of EU money, granted
to the Palestinian Authority by the European Commission, ended up on fully
uncontrollable bank accounts.
Contrary to specific project-based EU aid, these direct money transfers
to the Palestinian Authority could be spent freely, the television report said.
The Bayerische Rundfunk said, on the basis of a letter by Mr Arafat that it had
obtained, that the Palestinian leader personally ordered terrorist attacks, using
the accounts where the EU money ended up.
Evidence under discussion
The accusations to the Palestinian Authority, which have been ongoing for the
last three years, split an investigating group of members of the European
Parliament on 2 April.
By a margin of just one vote, a majority of MEPs backed a report that
said there was no conclusive evidence that EU money had gone to terrorists.
But an alternative ‘minority report’, backed by six of the 13 members of the
group, said that the evidence “cannot be discarded”.