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Italy: EPPO seizes up to €171 000 in investigation into pasture funding fraud

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In an investigation into fraud involving EU subsidies for the use of grazing land, coordinated by the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) in Venice (Italy), a freezing order of up to €171 000 was executed today, 26 May 2023.

The freezing order was issued on 16 May 2023 by the judge for preliminary investigations at the Court of Trento, against a company based in Trentino and four individuals, for amounts allegedly unduly received from 2020 to 2021.

The investigation originated in a probe launched by the Carabinieri Command for Forestry (Carabinieri Forestali) of Brescia, in the summer of 2020, in the context of so-called ‘pasture fraud’ – a scheme involving fake contracts claiming ownership of plots of land, in order to defraud the EU of subsidies for the use of grazing land.

Two companies are under investigation: a cooperative based in L'Aquila and another company based in Trentino-Alto Adige. Its administrators allegedly drafted and submitted false contracts claiming they had management rights to lands located in the municipalities of Saviore dell'Adamello (Brescia) and Valdaone (Trentino), in order to obtain subsidies provided by the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Union, within the direct payments and rural development support programme.

The judge of the Court of Trento also ordered the freezing of the titles to CAP rights held by the company based in Trentino, with a value of around €55 000.