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Fraud involving EU agricultural funds in Italy: €239 000 seized in Sicily

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In an investigation carried out by the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) in Palermo, Sicily (Italy), over €239 000 in movable assets and real estate has been seized from a company suspected of agricultural funding fraud. These seizures were made by the Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Agri-food of Messina (Reparto Carabinieri per la Tutela Agroalimentare di Messina).

According to the investigation, the company, an agricultural business, falsified statements and declared ownership and possession of lands in the province of Palermo, to obtain EU agricultural funds. The said company was not the actual owner of the lands, of which over 120 hectares are state property of the Sicilian region, and is alleged to have committed aggravated fraud in order to receive over €239 000 in EU agricultural funds between 2017 and 2021.

Additionally, the company under investigation had previously received an anti-mafia prohibition from the Prefect of Messina, which excluded it from obtaining public contributions, according to the Italian Anti-mafia Code.