Today, the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) in Riga (Latvia) referred a criminal case to court, in which two persons were indicted for fraud involving EU agricultural funds.
At stake are three projects co-financed by the EU’s European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) between 5 July 2019 and 5 August 2022. Criminal proceedings were initiated regarding one of these projects, for violations of the conditions of the allocation of the subsidies – namely a conflict of interest with the contractor for construction works financed by the EAFRD. During the course of the investigation, it was discovered that the two other ongoing projects were also at fault.
The EPPO’s European Delegated Prosecutor in Riga informed the national authority responsible for administering the funds, the Rural Support Service of the Republic of Latvia, which then decided to terminate the two ongoing projects and order the reimbursement of the public funds.
Thanks to the EPPO investigation, the unlawfully obtained EU funds – over €100 000 – were fully recovered before the trial. The accused persons also withdrew payment requests for up to €90 000. They have since been barred from applying to any EU-funded projects until 2025.
The two accused pleaded guilty to all charges, and signed plea bargains with the EPPO.
The investigation was carried out with the support of the State Police of Latvia – 2nd Division of the Economic Crime Combating Department of the Main Criminal Police Department (Valsts policijas Galvenās kriminālpolicijas pārvaldes Ekonomisko noziegumu apkarošanas pārvaldes 2.nodaļa).