[28/02/2006] EU reappoints failed anti-fraud chief

*** EU REAPPOINTS FAILED ANTI-FRAUD CHIEF

The commissars of the EU Commission have overruled Member States' request
for a new head of the EU's internal anti-fraud agency, OLAF.  The
Commission has re-appointed German citizen Franz-Hermann Bruner, who has
headed OLAF since March 2000, from among 181 candidates for the job.

Bruner has been strongly criticised this past two years for his handling of
the "Tillack case", in which a respected German journalist was arrested and
accused of bribery for uncovering fraud at the EU Commission.  Bruner was
also in charge when leaked OLAF documents said that the agency conducts
"fake investigations," and he has faced criticism for his mishandling of
the major Eurostat fraud scandal.  Under EU rules the Commission has to
consult Member States and the European Parliament on these top
appointments, but the final decision rests in its own hands. Commission
spokesman Johannes Laitenberger argued that OLAF is "a special case,"
exempt from the principle that top Commission officials have to be rotated
every seven years. . . Clearly another case of the Brussels bureaucrats
looking after their own!

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