Bulgaria 3rd in EU by Completed EU Funds Fraud Investigations - OLAF
Bulgaria is third in the EU by investigations into the use of EU funds concluded in 2014, according to an annual report of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).
According to OLAF data, Romania tops the ranking with 36 investigations, followed by Hungary with 13, and Bulgaria with 11.
OLAF received 54 signals from private sources and 5 signals from public institutions in Bulgaria.
Bulgaria reported a 55% rate of indictment on cases opened on the basis of OLAF’s recommendations issued between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2014.
Bulgaria was issued 30 judicial recommendations over the period.
OLAF presents information on Bulgaria’s high-profile SAPARD money laundering case as an example of implementation of judicial recommendations in a case regarding fraudulent use of Agriculture and Rural Development Funds.
“Authorities in Bulgaria sent information on two companies to OLAF, both beneficiaries of ‘Special accession programme for agriculture and rural development’ (SAPARD) funding. OLAF acquired further information and decided to open a criminal assistance case in 2010, as well as an external investigation,” the report informs.
“OLAF’s investigators subsequently extended their investigation to cover another eight companies that received Sapard funding and that were linked to each other. Evidence on the other beneficiary companies that took part in a tendering process for the supply of machinery was acquired through on-the-spot checks and inspections carried out at company premises in Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Sweden and the United Kingdom. OLAF requested cooperation from some Member States, which carried out checks and inspections at the premises of companies involved in supplying machinery. The investigation revealed that many tendering processes relating to the supply of machinery had been manipulated and that the supplies had been provided at substantially inflated prices. The findings allowed OLAF to discover fraud amounting to EUR 7.6 million. National judicial authorities were kept informed throughout the investigation. Following OLAF’s recommendations in 2014, national proceedings against some of the businesses involved were launched,” the report states.
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