The European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) filed an indictment against the mayor of Brăhășești, a rural municipality in the Galați county, in Romania, at the Iași County Court, on 7 December, for attempted subsidy fraud and forgery of official documents.
The mayor is accused of attempting to unlawfully obtain EU funds, under a project to support the initial development of new companies within the local community, financed by the Human Capital Operational Program 2014–2020.
As the beneficiary of the EU funding, the Brăhășești municipality had to organise learning courses for future entrepreneurs, who in turn had to develop business plans for analysis and selection for financial aid – which would be granted after the companies were established.
According to the applicable rules, the newly created businesses had to be registered no later than 14 February 2020 – but on that date, no company had been set up among the 15 persons whose business plans were selected for aid. The 15 companies were only registered (and thus gained legal personality) on 12 March 2020.
The defendant, acting in his official capacity as mayor and legal representative of the beneficiary of the EU funds, is believed to have concluded subsidy contracts with 15 natural persons, all dated 14 March 2020 – though only legal entities were entitled to receive the financial aid. He is suspected of subsequently, at a later date, replacing the pages containing the identification data of the natural persons with new ones, containing the identification data of the newly registered companies.
The allegedly forged contracts, together with other documents and declarations required, were submitted to the Romanian managing authority for the EU funds, as justification for the request of approximately €260 000 (RON 1 278 225). The attempted fraud was noticed after a thorough verification by the managing authority, and the payment was rejected.