By Gerardo Fortuna and Sarantis Michalopoulos
OLAF: “In complex cross-border cases in particular, OLAF can bring significant added value by helping coordinate anti-smuggling operations carried out by law-enforcement agencies across Europe.”
The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) stands ready to assist member states, such as France, in the fight against illicit tobacco trade with third countries, but it’s up to the national authorities to make a request, OLAF told EURACTIV.com.
“OLAF will endeavour to facilitate any request for assistance from a member state and has regularly assisted member states on dealings with third countries. However, this is something principally for the French authorities to consider,” OLAF said in an emailed response.
OLAF added that it had a unique investigative mandate to fight tobacco smuggling into the EU.