Today, the Italian Financial Police (Guardia di Finanza) in Palermo is carrying out a preventive seizure order of over €7 million, requested by the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) in Palermo. The suspects had obtained funds from the Sicilian Rural Development Programme (PSR Sicilia) to construct a livestock farming complex with an attached slaughterhouse. According to the investigation, they issued invoices with a higher price than the actual price of their expenses, which led to inflated invoices of over €12 million (incl. VAT).
The officials of the Sicilian Region, who were misled by the alleged over-invoicing, consequently attributed undue public contributions of over €5 million to the company. In addition, the estimated damages of the tax fraud stand at almost €2 million, as the suspects are understood to have created a system of invoicing between several companies, and to have collected the VAT for the higher prices. Hence, a preventive seizure order of over €7 million was issued to recover the damages.
The European Union contribution to the Sicilian Rural Development Programme (PSR Sicilia) amounts to 45%, and is financed by the European agricultural fund for rural development (EAFRD).