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OLAF is the European Anti-Fraud Office; OLAF is short for the name in French ‘’Office de Lutte Anti-Fraude’’. It investigates fraud against the EU budget, corruption and serious misconduct within the European institutions, and develops anti-fraud policy for the European Commission. Director-General since December 2010 is Giovanni Kessler.

OLAF got caught in the spotlight in 16 October 2012, when the EU Health Commissioner John Dalli resigned in a “cash for influence” lobbying scandal. Dalli’s resignation came days before he was due to launch the post-consultation proposals for a new Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) that would have continued the EU-wide ban on snus (the exemption for Sweden kept in place).

Mr Dalli was forced to resign in October 2012, after OLAF concluded that Dalli was aware that Silvio Zammit,a Maltese associate, had approached Swedish Match to bribe Dalli to overturn the EU ban on snus during the review of the TPD. Despite the main charges against Dalli made public, OLAF’s full report remained secret for many months after.

For more on OLAF’s role in ‘Dalligate’, see the page on its Director General:

In spring 2015, media reported that Belgian prosecutors had started a criminal investigation into claims of illegal wiretapping by OLAF during the Dalli investigation, and that prosecutors had requested the Commission to lift the diplomatic immunity of OLAF officials involved.12 The Commission refused several requests, but in July 2015 granted the request to lift Giovanni Kessler’s immunity.3

Kessler filed a case with the European Court of Justice, seeking reversal of the Commission’s decision to lift his immunity, claiming that if he were to be put on trial, “it would imperil Olaf’s independence and investigations”.4 In January 2017 this court case was still ongoing.

TobaccoTactics Resources

EU Tobacco Products Directive Revision

International Agencies and Regulation

Tobacco Products Directive


Swedish Match

Lobbying Decision Makers


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  1. N. Nielsen, [https://euobserver.com/justice/128676 EU court dismisses Dalli case], ”euobserver” 12 May 2015, accessed January 2017
  2. B. Pancevski, [http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/world_news/Europe/article1554222.ece EU fraudbusters ‘tapped phones illegally and fiddled clear-up rate’], ”The Sunday Times”, 10 May 2015, accessed January 2017
  3. ”The Malta Independent”, [http://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2016-03-10/world-news/European-Commission-College-decides-to-lift-the-immunity-of-OLAF-s-Kessler-in-secret-session-6736154676 European Commission College decides to lift the immunity of OLAF’s Kessler in secret session], 10 March 2016, accessed January 2017
  4. N. Nielsen, [https://euobserver.com/justice/134559 Belgium free to probe EU wiretapping allegations], 2 August 2016, accessed January 2017