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Romania: EPPO conducts searches in probe into €8 million fraud involving Covid-19 medical equipment

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(Luxembourg, 15 May 2024) – The European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) in Bucharest (Romania) carried out five searches yesterday in the Romanian capital, as part of an investigation into an €8 million fraud involving EU funds for the purchase of medical equipment during the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the investigation, during the period 2020-2022, a criminal network was formed to manipulate the public procurement of protective masks, disinfectants and other medical supplies for hospitals, schools and other municipal state facilities, in order to benefit predetermined suppliers, which are understood to have been part of the scheme. 

Three  individuals under investigation have been brought to the EPPO’s office in Bucharest to be informed of their status as suspects.

The supply of the medical equipment was funded by the programme Recovery assistance for cohesion and the territories of Europe (REACT-EU). It is estimated that the activities documented so far in the investigation caused a damage of over €8 million to the EU budget. The investigation is ongoing, in order to ascertain the extent of the suspected criminal activities and the overall financial damage caused.

The investigation and the searches counted on the support of: the EPPO Support Structure in Romania; the Romanian Police – Special Operations Directorate (Poliția Română – Directia de Operatiuni Speciale); Romania’s Anti-Corruption General Directorate (Direcția Generală Anticorupție); and the Special Intervention Brigade of the Romanian Gendarmerie (Brigada Speciala de Interventie a Jandarmeriei Romane).

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.