Overview of Convictions in EPPO Cases: Fourth Quarter 2023
8 January 2024 (updated 3 weeks, 6 days ago) // Published in printed Issue 4/2023
2018-Max_Planck_Herr_Wahl_1355_black white_Zuschnitt.jpg Thomas Wahl

The following overview provides court verdicts and alternative resolutions in EPPO cases. It evaluates EPPO's news reports from October to December 2023 and continues the overview in → eucrim 2/2023, 128-129. The overview is in reverse chronological order.

  • 14 December 2023: In a criminal procedure led by the EPPO in Zlín (Czechia) plea bargain agreements are reached with three individuals and three companies. The case involves subsidy fraud with damage of over €1.8 million (CZK 45.8 million). The suspects falsely increased prices for machinery and provided false and incorrect documents in order to receive €1.8 million under the EU’s Structural Fund. As part of the plea bargain agreements, the primary defendant agreed to pay back the total amount of damage of €1.8 million; all individuals accepted a conditional sentence of between two and five years with probation, and to pay fines ranging from €4000 to €40 000. All companies agreed to pay fines of between €12,000 and €200,000. In addition, the primary defendant and his company have been banned from applying for subsidies for a period of between 8 and 10 years.
  • 31 October 2023: In an EPPO case involving the unlawful obtainment of funds from the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the EU’s European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) with an estimated damage of €270,000, the Court of First Instance of Athens convicted one defendant to eight months’ imprisonment, suspended for three years. The court refrained from imposing sentences to seven other defendants because they fully payed back the money illegally received.
  • 31 October 2023: The Court of First Instance of Athens hands down the first verdict in an EPPO case in Greece. The judgment relates to a police officer who presented false receipts, during the course of his service, for travel and accommodation expenses, which were covered by the EU’s Internal Security Fund (ISF), but which were had never been incurred. He was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 3 years, and a fine of 400 daily units (€10 per daily unit).
  • 12 October 2023: The District Court of Vilnius (Lithuania) convicts six persons and one company of document forgery, fraudulent account management and high value fraud. Investigations by the EPPO in Vilnius revealed that EU funds of €580,000 for the support of small and medium-sized enterprises were unduly received. A business owner and a supplier falsified documents and agreed on the inflation of costs for the production of COVID-19 protective material. Since the defendants plead guilty and repaid the damage before the verdict, they received suspended custodial sentences of between nine months and one year. The individuals and convicted company also have to pay fines ranging from €19,000 to €150,000.
  • 9 October 2023: The Correctional Chamber of the Dutch-speaking Tribunal of First Instance in Brussels (Nederlandstalige correctionele rechtbank) renders the first verdict in an EPPO case investigated in Belgium. The defendant, an IT consultant working for the EU, was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, suspended for three years, and a fine of €8 000 for attempted fraud. The defendant intended to receive double payments for the same work when he filled out duplicate time sheets.