Language of document :

Appeal brought on 1 August 2019 by the European Commission against the judgment of the General Court (Fifth Chamber) delivered on 11 June 2019 in Case T-138/18, De Esteban Alonso v Commission

(Case C-591/19 P)

Language of the case: French


Appellant: European Commission (represented by: B. Mongin and J. Baquero Cruz, acting as Agents)

Other party to the proceedings: Fernando De Esteban Alonso

Form of order sought

The appellant claims that the Court should:

set aside the judgment of 11 June 2019 (T-138/18);

dismiss the action brought at first instance;

order Mr De Esteban to pay in full the costs of both sets of proceedings.

Grounds of appeal and main arguments

By the first ground of appeal, alleging an incorrect legal classification of the facts in the light of Article 4 of Commission Decision No 1999/396, the Commission submits that the General Court should not have held that Mr De Esteban had to be ‘treated in the same way’ as the persons referred to by name in the note sent by OLAF to the French authorities on 19 March 2003 or at the very least regarded as being personally involved in the facts, whereas the person concerned did not fall within any of those categories.

The second ground of appeal alleges an error of law in the interpretation of Article 9(4) of Regulation No 1073/1999 according to which the institutions must take ‘such action, in particular disciplinary or legal,’ on the report submitted by OLAF ‘as the results … warrant’. The Commission claims that that provision cannot be interpreted a contrario as limiting the discretion available to it in the defence of the European Union’s interests and, in particular, as prohibiting it from appearing as a civil party in criminal proceedings and from filing a criminal complaint before the national authorities where it deems it appropriate in the light of the information available to it, including at a stage prior to the adoption of any OLAF report.

By its third ground of appeal, relied on in the alternative, the Commission claims that the General Court could not uphold the action for compensation since there was no causal link. The General Court unduly departed from its case-law according to which there is no sufficiently direct causal link between the forwarding of information by OLAF to the national authorities and the harm allegedly suffered.