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Misuse of EU funds in the agricultural sector – assets worth €215 000 seized in Italy

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Yesterday, the European Public Prosecutor’s Office led an operation where €215 000 worth of assets were seized by the Italian Financial Police (Guardia di Finanza, Tenenza of Mola di Bari). The suspect, a tourism operator in the province of Bari (Italy), is alleged to have misused funds from the EU Rural Development Programme 2007-13.

The beneficiary of EU funds received €215 000 to modernise and restructure a farmhouse and hotel facility, a so-called agriturismo. However, the owner of the company used the European Structural Funds to purely increase the market value of the farmhouse and sell it at a higher price during the programming period. Hence, he made an unlawful profit of €215 000.

Ten properties and bank holdings owned by the entrepreneur were preventively seized, at the request of a European Delegated Prosecutor from EPPO Rome.