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EPPO conducts searches in Romania and Spain in probe into €10 million fraud

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(Luxembourg, 7 June 2024) – In an investigation led by the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) in Bucharest (Romania), several searches were carried out in Romania and Spain, as part of an investigation into a €10 million procurement fraud involving EU funds for the modernisation of water infrastructure and the improvement of energy efficiency.

The EPPO in Bucharest and law enforcement officers carried out six searches in Hunedoara County (Romania). Documents were also obtained from a hospital and a public company – the  beneficiaries of the funds. One search was also conducted in Andalusia (Spain), by the EPPO in Madrid.   

On the radar of the EPPO are two projects: one for the modernisation of water infrastructure in Hunedoara County, financed by the Cohesion Fund’s Large Infrastructure Operational Programme; and another for the improvement of energy efficiency at a hospital, financed by the Regional Development Fund’s Regional Operational Programme.

The evidence collected shows that, during the public procurement procedures, a group of companies that applied to execute the works presented false documents and declarations, in order to be awarded the contract. In particular, they attested that the group of companies would include a company based in Spain, which possessed the technical knowledge and the professional ability to execute the project – which was essential for meeting the requirements of the public procedure. However, according to the investigation, the company in Spain did not in fact meet these requirements. 

Three individuals and two companies are under investigation in connection with this case. The investigation is ongoing, in order to ascertain the nature and extent of the suspected criminal activities.

In order to compensate the damage to the EU budget, the EPPO also ordered the seizure of assets worth up to €10 million.

All persons concerned are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in the competent Romanian courts of law.

The investigation and the searches counted on the support, of: in Romania, the Support Structure of European Delegated Prosecutors in Bucharest (Structura de sprijin a procurorilor europeni delegați); Hunedoara County Police Inspectorate – Economic Crime Investigation Service (Inspectoratul de Poliție al Județului Hunedoara – Serviciul de Investigare a Criminalității Economice); General Anti-Corruption Directorate – Hunedoara County Anticorruption Service (Direcția Generală Anticorupție – Serviciul Județean Anticorupție Hunedoara); General Inspectorate of the Romanian Police – Information Analysis Unit (Inspectoratul General al Poliției Române – Unitatea de Analiză a Informațiilor); and the Timisoara Mobile Gendarme Group (Brigada Mobilă de Jandarmi Timișoara), and in Spain, the Guardia Civil; Criminal Police Technical Unit UTPJ; UOPJ Cadiz; Anti-Money Laundering Team; and Team PJ Barbate.

The EPPO is the independent public prosecution office of the European Union. It is responsible for investigating, prosecuting and bringing to judgment crimes against the financial interests of the EU.