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EPPO: 15 searches in Romania in an investigation on fraud with European funds for the Danube Delta

May 26, 2022

Fifteen locations in Bucharest, Gorj, Giurgiu and the Danube Delta area were searched on May 24 upon the request of the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO), as part of an investigation on supposed frauds with European funds with prejudices of over 3 million euros, a press release of the European institution informs.   EPPO suspects three persons of setting up an organized criminal group in 2018 for fraud with European funds meant to develop the Danube Delta (Regional Operational Program 2014-2020).   For that, the suspects organized a fraud mechanism by means of 7 companies, which they controlled either directly or by proxy.Two of the suspects laid the disposal of the group four companies which had fraudulently accessed European funds which they used in other areas outside the Danube Delta.Suspects had a system which, based on fake documents, created false facts about project implementation, the existence of financial resources from personal contribution to projects and the transparent organization of purchase procedures, whose manipulation led to an artificial price increase.   The third suspect supplied equipment (bought with 70% European funds) to the four companies controlled by the other two people, at over evaluated prices, the difference between the real price and the one declared to managing authorities remaining at the disposal of the group.   In order to over estimate the equipment value three other companies were used, all of them controlled by a third suspect. The equipment was imported to Romania by the first company and then it was sold, at a much higher price, to the second one, registered in Bulgaria. The latter sold it at even higher prices to firms controlled by the other two members of the group.   In order to create an apparent justification for this price increase, a third firm was used, in whose accounts they transferred the sums resulting from price increases. The total prejudice is estimated to be 14,437,000 lei (about 3 million euros).   The three suspects were indicted on Wednesday and bail was established for each of them, a total of 1.7 million euros. Searches were made with the aid of policemen from EPPO support structure in Romania, of the Economic Crime Investigation Department within IGPR, of IJP Gorj – the Economic Crime Investigation Service and the Special Task Force of Romanian Gendarmerie , EPPO press release shows.

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