POLITICS

Romania ranks first with respect to EU fund-related fraud investigations

Germany and Italy are placed 2nd and 3rd.

Given the EUR 142 bln given every year, the European Union has decided to toughen the fight against frauds related to structural and cohesion funds. Romania tops the list of such investigations, followed by Germany and Italy. This standing however conceals different realities, according to TV5 journalists quoted by Hotnews.Italy remains the country that embezzled the highest amount in 2011, mostly from structural funds which totaled over EUR 380 M. And yet, it only ranks 3rd with respect to the number of investigated cases, 112, according to the Olaf Report published on July 11, 2012. Germany is next, with 168 investigated cases, and Romania first, 225 cases. Published a few days later, on July 19, the European Commission report on frauds and illegalities confirms that Germany is investigating a large number of cases, a finding partially explained by its geographical positioning as well: Germany is the most populous country of the EU, is located in Central Europe and is therefore exposed to the transit of smuggled goods from Eastern Europe. A EU member country, Romania is the subject of a special control device which explains the large number of reported frauds. The source quoted also shows that Romania has benefited from a special subventions program for the procurement of industrial and agricultural equipment, areas affected by fund embezzlement. “What is worrying in Romania’s case is the poor sentencing rate following the judicial proceedings,” said Lothar Kuhl, an official at the European Anti-Fraud Bureau. The reasons are being investigated, yet the suspects are seldom sentenced. What is important is not so much the number of conveyed cases but the efficiency with which they are managed by national authorities. The states with high rates of cases yet low sentencing rates show the inefficiency of their judicial systems to punish those guilty. In Romania, actions 73.4 pc of the actions were dropped eventually, and only 23.4 pc ended in sentencing. By comparison, in Germany accusations were dropped in 32.5 pc of the cases, while sentencing stood at 57 pc. ”The most recent report by the European Anti-Fraud Office ranks Romania first in the standings of the EU member states that embezzled European funds. (..)  We face yet another standings of shame where Romania is leading comfortably,’ Realittaea.net quoted a  communiqué by Social-Democrat MEP Catalin Ivan as stating. ”It appears that the  Basescu – Udrea regime did whatever they wanted with the EU money, not only the state money. Since they were toppled, more and more frauds surfaced. As you can see, the audit that the Social Liberal Union is conducting is not the only one that unravels the plunder by the democratic Liberal Party (PDL). Now, the European institutions, too, show that the PDL governance was deeply fraudulent, and, implicitly, that the USL told the truth about it when in Opposition,” said Catalin Ivan, who also mentioned that the report proves that the “Basescu regime shall not be restored after July 29”, as it would continue to “hush up” all the illegalities committed during this period.

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