The investigation into the large-scale fraud was begun last summer, when the ENAP looked into the Rural Support Service program for the creation and development of new enterprises involved in a sector other than agriculture.
Instead of pursuing the program’s goals of creating new jobs in rural regions, the scammers used it to embezzle significant amounts of money, starting with €139,441 and then attempting to siphon away an additional €61,720.
Three officials of the involved companies have been held since being identified in February thanks to overwhelming evidence gathered against them.
Usually this type of fraud involves organized crime groups whose members are former or current business owners using commercial merchants from Poland, Estonia, Great Britain, Canada, as well as firms set up in off-shore and low-tax havens, according to Dairis Anučins, State Police spokesman.
Last year ENAP showed good results in probing a number of fraudulent users of EU funding, sending altogether six cases to prosecutors involving the cheating of the state out of more than €7 million.
Each of the cases had to be cracked by painstakingly gathering the documentary evidence of transactions, which makes the probes significantly more time-consuming for investigators.