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First verdict in EPPO case in Croatia for subsidy fraud

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Croatian version below

As was previously reported, in May this year, the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) in Zagreb filed an indictment against an owner of a family farm in Croatia. Today, the County Court in Zagreb issued the verdict, in which the accused person was found guilty of subsidy fraud.

The accused was found guilty of falsifying an application to Croatia’s Paying Agency for Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development (PAAFRD), in late 2020, for a non-refundable subsidy to the amount of HRK 7 439 500 (€ 989 214). Of this amount, 85% (HRK 6 323 575, € 840 832) related to funds from the EU budget’s European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), while 15% (HRK 1 115 925, € 148 382) related to the state budget of Croatia.

In order to falsely demonstrate that he was eligible to receive the subsidy, the accused enclosed, with the application to the PAAFRD, a forged Tax Administration certificate of entry into the Register of Taxpayers, thus misrepresenting that he met the mandatory application requirements.

However, the requested payment was not made, because the PAAFRD rejected the application for subsidy, having realised that the accused person did not meet the eligibility requirements.

The verdict was passed on the basis of an agreement between the parties, since the accused fully confessed to the offence. He was sentenced to prison for a period of 10 months, which was then replaced by community service.

This is the first verdict in Croatia since the EPPO started its operations.

 

Prva presuda u predmetu EPPO-a u Hrvatskoj zbog subvencijske prijevare

Kao što je ranije objavljeno, u svibnju ove godine je Ured europskog javnog tužitelja (EPPO) u Zagrebu podigao optužnicu protiv vlasnika obiteljskog poljoprivrednog gospodarstva u Hrvatskoj. Danas je Županijski sud u Zagrebu donio presudu kojom je okrivljenik proglašen krivim zbog subvencijske prijevare.

Okrivljenik je proglašen krivim da je Agenciji za plaćanja u poljoprivredi, ribarstvu i ruralnom razvoju (APPRRR), krajem 2020. godine, podnio zahtjev za izdavanjem bespovratnih sredstava u iznosu od 7.439.500,00 kuna (989.214 eura). Od toga se 85% (6.323.575 kn ili 840.832 eura) odnosilo na sredstva iz Europskog poljoprivrednog fonda za ruralni razvoj (EPFRR) proračuna Unije, dok se 15% (1.115. 925 kuna) odnosilo na Državni proračun Hrvatske.

Kako bi lažno prikazao da ispunjava uvjete za dobivanje potpore, okrivljenik je uz zahtjev APPRRR-u priložio krivotvorenu potvrdu Porezne uprave o upisu u Registar poreznih obveznika, čime je lažno prikazao da ispunjava obvezni uvjet za prijavu.

Međutim, do tražene isplate nije došlo jer je APPRRR odbio zahtjev za potporom uočivši da okrivljenik ne ispunjava uvjete prihvatljivosti.

Presuda je donesena na temelju sporazuma stranka budući da je okrivljenik u cijelosti priznao kazneno djelo. Izrečena mu je kazna zatvora u trajanju od 10 mjeseci, koja je zamijenjena radom za opće dobro.

Ovo je prva presuda u Hrvatskoj otkako je EPPO počeo s operativnim radom.