EPPO and OLAF Lead Successful Investigation into Procurement Fraud in Croatia
The EPPO and OLAF conducted one of the first joint operations. The investigations concerned procurement fraud in the purchase of an information system for the Croatian Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds (MRRFEU). The investigations resulted in the arrest of four suspects on 10 November 2021; they involved the minister of the MRRFEU, the Director of Croatia’s Central Finance and Contracting Agency (SAFU), and two businessmen. The EPPO’s press release described in detail the detected fraud scheme. The suspects used their positions to adjust the procurement specifications and to conduct a negotiated procurement procedure without a public tender. The total damage for the EU’s financial interests is around € 1.8 million.
The case was transmitted by OLAF to the EPPO in June 2021. OLAF supported the investigations by two on-the-spot checks and digital forensic operations in Croatia.