(Luxembourg, 9 November 2023) – As part of two ongoing investigations into a suspected €15 million fraud, led by the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) in Bucharest (Romania), 38 house searches were carried out on 7 November 2023.
The searches were conducted in several locations in Romania, including Bucharest, Ploiești, Cluj and Ialomița County. Investigative measures were also carried out in Cyprus, Czechia and Malta, as well as in Monaco and the United States, through international cooperation.
At issue are six IT projects financed by the EU, for the development of innovative software solutions.
According to the investigation, between 2019 and 2022, the beneficiaries of the projects submitted false or inaccurate documents with overvalued services or services that were never provided, as well as fraudulent invoices for the purchase of goods – thus unduly obtaining funds from the EU budget of at least €15 million.
The beneficiaries are suspected of having subsequently created fraudulent domestic and international financial circuits, in order to channel the funds for their own benefit.
Some of the people under investigation have been brought to the EPPO’s office in Bucharest to be informed of their status as suspects, and others will be brought in during the coming days.
The facts under investigation could constitute offences of fraud and money laundering.
The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) opened complementary investigations into the same facts.
The EPPO counted on the support of: the EPPO Support Structure in Romania; Romania’s Anti-Corruption General Directorate and subordinate territorial structures (Direcția Generală Anticorupție și structurile teritoriale subordonate); Romania’s Directorate for Combating Organised Crime (Direcţia de Combatere a Criminalităţii Organizate); the Economic Crime Investigation Directorate of the General Inspectorate of the Romanian Police and subordinate territorial structures (Direcţia de Investigare a Criminalității Economice din cadrul IGPR si structurile teritoriale subordonate); Romanian Police – Special Operations Directorate (Poliția Română – Direcţia Operaţiuni Speciale), and the Special Intervention Brigade of the Romanian Gendarmerie (Brigada Specială de Intervenţie a Jandarmeriei Române).
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.