Author(s): Daniele Alessandro Luison, Matteo lanni
Committee: Banking, Insurance and Financial Authorities
The European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) was set up with the task, essential to the very survival of the Union, of defending its financial interests by investigating and prosecuting within the various national legal systems of the Member States.
Although the European Public Prosecutor is not the only authority with powers of investigation in matters directly affecting the Union and its institutions (one example is OLAF’s role in the fight against corruption in the Union and the Member States), EPPO does have one unique feature: in order to be effective, it often has to rely on the cooperation of non-state national actors.
A practical example of this is the prosecution of offences that cannot be prosecuted ex officio in some national systems. If, in order to protect the Union’s interests, it is necessary for the European Public Prosecutor to prosecute the offences referred to above, it is essential for EPPO to contact the victim and inform him/her of the investigation in progress and of the possibility of lodging a complaint.
In the Bank’s operational practice, this proved to be the first moment of pragmatic cooperation with the European Public Prosecutor. Faced with a communication from the European Public Prosecutor, as described above, and following in-depth internal investigations into the elements of the offence outlined by the European Public Prosecutor, the Bank can, if it considers that the damage alleged exists, take all the steps required by criminal procedure to lodge a complaint, which is essential for the European Public Prosecutor.
It is only with the active cooperation of the national authorities that the European Public Prosecutor can effectively combat the forms of crime which affect and damage the interests of the Union.