Reporter following trail of corruption in EU arrested
news.telegraph.co.uk
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in Brussels
20/03/2004




Police arrested a leading investigative journalist yesterday on the orders of the European Union, seizing his computers, address books and archive of files in a move that stunned Euro-MPs.

Hans-Martin Tillack, the Brussels correspondent for Germany's Stern magazine, said he was held for 10 hours without access to a lawyer by the Belgian police after his office and home were raided by six officers.

"They asked me to tell them who my sources were. I replied that was something I would never do. Now they have all my sensitive files, so I suppose they'll find out anyway," he said last night.

"The police said I was lucky I wasn't in Burma or central Africa, where journalists get the real treatment," he added.

Mr Tillack said the raid was triggered by a complaint from the EU's anti-fraud office, OLAF. He was accused of paying money to obtain a leaked OLAF dossier two years ago, which he denies.

The European Ombudsman has already come to his defence, issuing a harsh criticism of OLAF's campaign to silence him.

Mr Tillack, who describes himself as a "pro-European federalist", has been OLAF's most vocal critic, accusing it of covering up abuses within the EU system.

As the author of a recent book on EU corruption, he has the greatest archive of investigative files of any journalist working in Brussels.

OLAF was created to replace the old fraud office UCLAF, which was accused of covering up abuses by the disgraced Santer Commission. Many UCLAF staff were transferred to OLAF.

 14 February 2004: Whistleblower to expose Prodi and Kinnock failings   19 November 2003: Prodi's fraud action plans not enough, say MEPs

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