The European Public Prosecutor Office – EPPO carried out 40 house searches in Romania and France on Tuesday in an investigation led by the EPPO structure in Bucharest regarding suspicions of fraud of over 30 million euros with European and national funds, EPPO informs.
A fictitious bank that apparently operated in the Comoros Islands issued letters of guarantee by which it ensured the payment of sums totaling almost 20 million euros to the public authorities in Romania. Similarly, financial institutions apparently operating in the Czech Republic, Latvia and Spain issued letters of guarantee that were to be used in Romania, without having the right to do so and without having the necessary funds to cover the insured damages.In Romania, searches are carried out in Bucharest, Alba, Arad, Cluj, Constanta, Hunedoara, Iasi, Mureş and Olt. Searches are also carried out in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, in the south of France.
In the case of projects benefiting from European funding, the winner of the EU-funded contract must present a letter of guarantee of good execution, issued by a financial institution that undertakes to pay certain sums of money (the value of the guarantee), in case the services are not are properly executed. In addition, if the beneficiary of the funds receives an advance, he must also present a letter of guarantee to the contracting authority, which ensures the recovery of the advance.
The suspects would have issued letters of guarantee in the name of fictitious financial entities or with fictitious financial resources. In exchange for issuing the letters of guarantee, it is assumed that the suspects received large sums of money, which they used in their own interest. If a contractor did not fulfill its contractual obligations, the contracting authorities could not execute these letters of guarantee, because the issuing entities did not have the necessary financial resources.
The searches, which are still ongoing, are carried out with the support of police officers from several law enforcement agencies in Romania and France, including the Economic Crime Investigation Directorate of the General Inspectorate of the Romanian Police, the Directorate of Special Operations, The Service for Combating Computer Crime, the National Institute of Criminalistics in Romania and the Special Intervention Brigade of the Romanian Gendarmerie. From France, investigators were from the Financial Judicial Investigation Service from Nice.