OLAF Unveils Fraud Committted by Greek Researcher
On 5 May 2020, OLAF reported the successful discovery of a fraud scheme set up by a Greek researcher. The researcher pretended to involve over 40 international researchers in a research project funded by the European Research Council Executive Agency (ERCEA) with a grant of approx. €1.1 million. OLAF found evidence that the researchers were, in fact, not involved and that the Greek researcher had set up banking accounts – actually meant to pay the individual researchers – making herself the co-beneficiary, so that she was able to access the money. The investigation was concluded in November 2019. OLAF recommended that the ERCEA recover approximately €190,000 (the share of the €1.1m grant allegedly paid to the international researcher). The Greek authorities recommended initiating judicial proceedings against the persons involved.
OLAF Director General Ville Itälä stated that the case demonstrated yet again the importance of being able to access banking records in order to fight fraud successfully.