POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - EUROPE

EPPO

EU budget watchdog launches inquiries worth €4.5bn in losses



Laura Codruța Kövesi is the head of the Luxembourg-based EPPO. (Photo: Matic Zorman/Maison Moderne)

Laura Codruța Kövesi is the head of the Luxembourg-based EPPO. (Photo: Matic Zorman/Maison Moderne)

After 100 days of work, the European Public Prosecutor's Office has already launched 300 investigations into an estimated total loss of €4.5 billion.

The European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO), which has its seat in Luxembourg and is headed by Laura Codruța Kövesi, has been operational since 1 June. In a short statement, marking the first 100 days of this new European body, the EPPO reported that it has registered more than 1,700 reports of infringements from member states and private entities. In total, the EPPO has opened 300 investigations involving an estimated total loss of €4.5 billion.

For example, in August this year, searches were carried out in Germany, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Hungary as part of an investigation by the European Public Prosecutor's Office into cross-border VAT fraud worth an estimated €14 million.

Another example: at the beginning of the month, the European Public Prosecutor's Office asked the Italian police to carry out a preventive seizure of more than €200,000 against a Ligurian company importing tungsten electrodes into Italy while declaring a false origin of the imported goods in order to evade the payment of customs duties.

As a reminder, the European Public Prosecutor's Office is supported by 22 out of 27 member states and aims to protect the EU budget. Within this framework, the EPPO can investigate and prosecute fraud and offences affecting the EU's financial interests, such as expenditure and revenue fraud, VAT fraud, money laundering, active and passive corruption or misappropriation of funds, or participation in a criminal organisation.

The European Public Prosecutor's Office is also in charge of monitoring the proper use of the €800 billion European Recovery Plan. But for the time being, no investigation into the use of the recovery plan is underway.

This article was originally published in French on Paperjam.lu. It has been translated and edited for Delano.lu