Romania has seen the highest number of investigations into fraud cases involving European funds, according to the European Anti-Fraud Office’s 2017 Report.
Eleven cases were concluded with regard to Romania, resulting in eight recommendations being issued.
As far as corruption regarding European funds is concerned, OLAF notes that there is a trend towards the existence of agreements between the winner of a tender and the consultant or the beneficiary of the funding.
As an example, OLAF cited a case where the representatives of a county council, the beneficiary, reached an agreement with the representatives of the company that set the technical specifications for a road so that restrictive criteria are set in the tender documentation to benefit a particular economic operator, while other bidders were disqualified at the initial evaluation stage.
The two entities falsified a large number of documents, including the technical project and the roadmaps, the documents being used not only for the auction, but also for repayment of funds from the managing authority, resulting in unjustified EU funding.
OLAF calculated that the financial damage to the EU budget of the case is about EUR 21 million representing the total amount of funding paid by the managing authority. OLAF recommended the recovery of the entire amount and issued judiciary recommendations to the National Anticorruption Directorate, which opened an investigation.
“In November 2017, DNS filed charges against senior European fraud officials for creating an organised crime group and abuse of office,” the report said, making reference to the Teldrum case, which involved PSD leader Liviu Dragnea.
Dragnea was indicted by DNA in the Tel Dum file, being accused of constituting an organised criminal group through which he illegally obtained money and other advantages resulting from contracts received by Tel Drum from Teleorman county council, which was headed by the PSD leader at the time.
Liviu Dragnea denied the allegations and any connection with Tel Drum.
After Romania, the second most investigated countries wer Poland and Hungary with 10 cases, followed by Greece – 9 cases, Bulgaria – 7, Germany and Italy – 5 each, the Czech Republic and Slovakia – 4 each.
OLAF completed 197 investigations in 2017 and issued 309 recommendations to relevant national or European authorities.
OLAF also recommended the recovery of over € 3 billion from the EU budget.
Also, in 2017, OLAF opened 215 new investigations, following 111 preliminary analyzes by the Office’s experts.
At the same time, the anti-fraud agency was able to reduce the length of its investigations.