European Attorney General Laura Coveschi PHOTO: NIKOLAI LITOV
In the first 3 months of the work of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, 1,700 signals were received and 300 investigations were launched. This was stated by the European Chief Prosecutor Laura Coveschi in an interview with the Al Jazeera TV channel.
“The damage done to the European budget is estimated at 4.5 billion euros from the cases we are investigating alone. In just three months, we have revealed damage of this magnitude, but we have a very small budget. That is why I say: What do we want the European Prosecutor’s Office to be – a tiger or a little puppy? This is a decision of politicians. “
The budget of the European Prosecutor’s Office is 45 million euros, and recently the European Commission refused to appoint more experts in the service, BNR reported.
Laura Coveschi pointed to the insufficient budget as a risk and that the misuse of the pandemic recovery funds could not be prevented. According to her, the European Public Prosecutor’s Office is currently investigating mostly crimes related to cross-border VAT fraud.
“We have very few cases of corruption. Most of our cases are about VAT fraud. There are cases with very high damages – over 80 million euros are damages from crime in six or seven member states. The European Public Prosecutor’s Office now has quick access to the documentation of all 22 countries that are part of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, and in the future this investigation will cover all these countries. “
Earlier this week, the European Prosecutor’s Office announced that 10 people were detained under its supervision today in Bulgaria, Italy and Germany on suspicion of VAT fraud.
A statement from the prosecutor’s office added that the detainees had participated in an organized criminal group for tax abuses by reselling cars in various EU countries. They carried out actions that resulted in a loss to the budget of nearly 13 million euros.