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Italy: €1 million seized in investigation into sustainable tourism project in Sardinia

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(Luxembourg, 31 August 2023) – Last week, on 22 August 2023, at the request of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) in Rome, the Italian Financial Police (Guardia di Finanza) seized €1 million, in an investigation into an NGO suspected of embezzling EU tourism funding.

Between September 2017 and November 2018, the NGO, which is active in the field of market research and opinion polls, had successfully applied for €1 million in EU funding through the Autonomous Region of Sardinia. This funding was intended for training and information activities to develop environmentally sustainable tourism in the Mediterranean. It is alleged, however, that the head of the NGO transferred parts of the received funding to his personal bank account, and used other parts of the funding for purchases that were not in line with the intended purposes.

The investigation was primarily carried out by the Guardia di Finanza’s Public Expenditure Protection Group (Gruppo Tutela Spesa Pubblica, Nucleo di Polizia Economico-Finanziaria di Roma).

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.