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Italy: EPPO seizes assets in investigation into €650 000 fraud involving agricultural funds

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(Luxembourg, 23 May 2024) – At the request of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) in Palermo (Italy), the Italian Financial Police (Guardia di Finanza) have executed a freezing order against two farmers suspected of fraud involving agricultural funds, with an estimated damage of €650 000.

It is alleged that, between 2017 and 2023, the suspects, who own a farm in Scordia, falsely declared ownership and possession of land in the municipalities of Vittoria and Acate, in order to obtain EU agricultural funds. It is understood that they thereby misled the Italian Agricultural Payments Agency (Agenzia per le erogazioni in agricoltura – AGEA), and unduly received over €650 000 in EU subsidies.

The timing of the investigation made it possible to block the payment of at least €50 000. 

At the request of the European Delegated Prosecutors, the judge for preliminary investigations of the Court of Caltagirone ordered the seizure of assets, including bank accounts, property and cars, corresponding to the amount unduly received – a measure that was executed on 21 May by the Guardia di Finanza of Ragusa. 

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

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.