Budapest, October 24 (MTI) – Criminal investigations are under way in 24 cases referred by the EU’s anti-fraud office OLAF to the Budapest prosecutor’s office. Most of the cases since since 2012 refer to tax fraud and embezzlement of state and EU funds, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office said on Monday.
Géza Fazekas said the authority brought charges on Monday against two company directors who won 178 million forints (EUR 578,000) in a tender involving state and EU funding for upgrading forestry equipment on the north of Lake Balaton in western Hungary. An investigation by OLAF however revealed that the company had invested a much lower amount in the project and submitted false invoices, Fazekas told MTI.
In January the prosecution had already pressed charges in another case referred by OLAF involving 110 million forints in central funds won by a 49-year-old man for a project aimed at upgrading a “hydrotherapy treadmill” for dogs which never got off the drawing board, Fazekas noted. The suspect had submitted fictitious invoices with the involvement of two accomplices.
Another OLAF referral, in 2012, concerns the abuse of funds in connection with a project of printing machines, Fazekas noted. In this case charges were brought against two suspects in 2014 and a non-binding ruling handed down by a lower court in April 2016. The primary suspect was sentenced to a year in prison suspended for two years, while the accomplice was fined, he said.
Fazekas noted that Chief Prosecutor Péter Polt had met OLAF’s director general in Budapest in June last year. Giovanni Kessler presented final reports on OLAF’s investigations into several major cases. The sides deemed the cooperation of the two authorities excellent, Fazekas said.