The resignation comes after a joint investigation by European media outlets said despite public denial, the EU border agency was involved in illegal pushbacks of asylum seekers in the Aegean Sea.

Frontex executive director Fabrice Leggeri has resigned and communicated his decision to the board of management, according to media reports.
Frontex executive director Fabrice Leggeri has resigned and communicated his decision to the board of management, according to media reports. (Reuters Archive)

The EU border agency chief has quit after a media investigation into the agency’s involvement in illegal pushbacks.

Politico, Der Spiegel and Lighthouse Reports said on Friday Frontex executive director Fabrice Leggeri had resigned and communicated his decision to the board of management of the agency.

The resignation comes after a joint investigation by European media outlets said despite public denial, the EU border agency was involved in illegal pushbacks of asylum seekers in the Aegean Sea.

The EU’s anti-fraud watchdog Olaf is expected to publish its report on the misgivings around the management of Frontex.

Another Olaf report has also confirmed Frontex’s involvement in pushbacks. It has not been made public due to the sensitivity of the information, said an EU official who did not want to be named.

According to the source, Leggeri and other top officials were also aware of the illegal activity but tried to cover it up.

READ MORE: Greece’s deadly pushback tactics, explained

Media investigation

A joint investigation by France’s Le Monde newspaper, German weekly Der Spiegel, Swiss news outlets SRF Rundschau and Republik, and the Netherlands-based Lighthouse Reports said on Thursday that Frontex was involved in 22 pushbacks between March 2020 and September 2021.

The EU agency recorded the incidents – in which at least 957 asylum seekers were taken off dinghies, put into Greek life rafts and left adrift at sea – as “prevention of departure,” the investigation underlined.

Since 2015, rights groups and media outlets have reported illegal pushbacks and other human rights breaches of Greek authorities, as well as Frontex’s complicity in these acts violating EU and international laws.

READ MORE: Death toll from Greece migrant boat accident rises

Source: AA