Polish agricultural consultancies accused of embezzling PLN 20 mln from EU
Two people affiliated with agricultural consultancy firms were detained by the Polish police last week and accused of embezzling PLN 20 mln in EU subsidies, destined for fictitious audits of agricultural businesses, Polish news service tvn24 reported March 18.
“Based on [fabricated – Ed. Note) documents, [the Agency for Restructuring and Modernization of Agriculture] ARMA paid out some PLN 6,000 per consulting service,” Andrzej Borowiak, spokesman of Wielkopolskie region police force, told the news service.
“That accounts for about 80 per cent of the end costs of the provided service, the remaining 20 per cent should be covered by the farmer himself. Detectives running this case confirmed that the two accused parties provided documents evidencing some 4,000 conducted audits, for which they cashed in more than PLN 20 mln,” the spokesman said.
The fabricated documents were allegedly being sent to the (ARMA), a governmental body, whose aim is to support agriculture and rural development
So far, the police has interviewed around 120 farmers from a number of regions in Poland. Most of them denied having covered 20 per cent of audits from their pockets. Many interviewees questioned the authenticity of their signatures placed on documents provided by the two accused agricultural consultants.
Regional Prosecution in Poznan charged the two individuals, a man and a woman, with fraud and embezzling funds. They remain under police supervision, and have not been allowed to leave Poland.
The detectives in charge of the investigation are convinced that this is the tip of the iceberg in terms of EU funds embezzlement. The police does not exclude further arrests.