EUR 4.5 million lost: Italian aquaculture fraud case – Following an investigation by the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) in Palermo and Rome, coercive measures have been decided for three aquaculture producers, suspected of fraud against EU maritime and fisheries funds, with an estimated damage of EUR 4.5 million.
The suspects run aquaculture companies with headquarters in Rome and offices in Petrosino, Rome, Guidonia and Piombino. The companies, involved from fish farming to sushi production, serve national markets.
The suspects obtained EUR 4.5 million from the regions of Sicily, Lazio and Tuscany, but the investigation revealed a fraudulent mechanism in the management of the funds.
The investigation reveals that construction works were assigned to an in-house company, inflating costs and obtaining illicit profits. The facts could constitute criminal conspiracy and fraud for public funding.
At the request of the EPPO, house arrest and mandatory residence were ordered. The gip also ordered the seizure of EUR 4.5 million from the companies involved, which was carried out by the Trapani Guardia di Finanza.
All those involved are presumed innocent until proven guilty before the Italian courts. EPPO, an independent EU public prosecutor’s office, is in charge of investigating and prosecuting EU financial crimes.
EUR 4.5 million lost: Italian aquaculture fraud case