EU funds fraud in Bulgaria is comparable to the largest markets for organised crime such as human trafficking, drug trafficking and illegal fuel trade, according to the “Bulgarian Organised Crime Threat Assessment 2020“, published by NGO Center for the Study of Democracy.
Abuses range from 5-15% of the funds received from the beneficiaries of the operational programmes in Bulgaria, according to the report. With a total budget of 23.2 billion levs (€11.7 billion), the potential damages for the programming period of 2014-2020 are between 1.16 billion levs (€0.59 billion) and 3.48 billion levs (€1.78 billion).
“EU fund fraud is a special type of crime committed by so-called white-collars, and not by the classic organised crime groups. Most violations have been identified with the funds from the State Fund ‘Agriculture’ in the subsidies for agricultural crops, as well as in the construction of guest houses with EU money that were only used as private homes, the report writes.